A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

“practice makes perfect” – especially in the dark

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 6, 2007

The power went out in my office twenty minutes ago, killing my desktop. We’ve requested a UPS (in Lebanon, an “uninterrupted power supply” – basically, a big battery with enough juice to power your computers, lights and other electrical items while the office switches from municipal to generator power) but no one seems particularly inclined to allocate money for one. So my work proceeds in fits and starts, depending on Beirut’s power supply.

At least its a daylight power cut – one day last week I stayed past sunset and sat in the dark until the generator kicked in. In the very, very dark – there’s no emergency lighting in this building.

Meanwhile my apartment building soldiers on without a generator, its overseers confident (or delusional) that its location in “administrative Beirut” will spare it from permanent power cuts. After the election, after the election, after the election … and if the power cuts continue after the election, I imagine that they will find some new target date.

As for me, I refuse to subscribe to a private generator service (if there is one for my neighborhood) on the principle that a government’s legitimacy rests in its ability to provide basic public services to its citizens. On days when there is no water and the power is out for hours at a time, you can imagine how legitimate I consider the Lebanese government – majority, opposition, and everything in between.

Luckily there are others who deal with the problem with humor, not by grouching about – as with this “memo” from Lebanon’s electric utility that made the rounds in late September:

إعلان من شركة الكهرباء الوطنية الى المواطنين الكرام
عزيزي المواطن
 
هل تعرف بأن لذة ممارسة الجنس في الظلمة تزيد 10 مرات عن ممارستها في الإضاءة
؟ 

 مع تحيات
شركة الكهرباء الوطنية
إدارة ترشيد الاستهلاك
 

Announcement from the national electric company [EDL] to the good citizens [of Lebanon]

Dear citizen,

Did you know that the pleasure of having sex in the dark is 10 times greater than with the lights on?

Kind regards,

The national electric company

In formal Arabic, one doesn’t “have” sex – one “practices” it. Hence when I learned the verb mumarisa, my instructor cautioned me: but try not to use it. So for those stuck in the dark from 3-6, or for longer stretches outside Beirut, EDL’s email impersonator suggests following the old “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” joke:

Practice, practice, practice.

 

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