A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

hating Beirut (with Tuesday morning update)

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 24, 2008

My parents left this morning, and since then two things have made me seriously consider buying a ticket and jumping ship on the next upgradeable flight out of here.

I lived in Manhattan for eight years and never once had a rat in my apartment. But today I find that I am on my third Beirut rat in nine months. There are rat feces all over my bedroom, and urine on my favorite chair.

And while I was scouring my apartment for possible rat hiding places, a three-inch spider crawled out from under one of H’s bags. So I unblocked the kitchen door and grabbed two cans of “all insect killer” from the cupboard below the sink.

Perhaps these sprays kill all other insects, but they did nothing to this spider. Here’s what finally worked: using one can’s bottom rim to slice the spider into bits. And yes, I did have to wait half an hour for its limbs to stop twitching before I could scoop them into the trash.


I’m working from home today, and I can hear the rat slamming against the kitchen door every fifteen minutes or so, trying to get out. Thank God my mother left all her spare travel Kleenex packs with me – not quite as good as a hug, but better than using a shirtsleeve to wipe up all my tears.

I hate this city’s culture of irresponsibility. I hate the filth – metaphoric and physical – in which people choose to live. If Beirutis would act less like vermin’s best friends, throwing empty wrappers and coffee cups and God knows what other garbage onto the streets and sidewalks, perhaps the number of actual vermin would go down to a normal level.

Tuesday morning update:

When H came over yesterday evening, I warned him about the rat.

Its okay, he said. I don’t mind.

Its not the rat itself I’m warning you about, I said. Its me. I’m insanely grouchy – just wait until you see the blog post I wrote.

But H came over anyway, armed with logic and rationality.

There are rats everywhere, he said.

No there aren’t, I insisted. Not in people’s apartments. I don’t know anyone who has had a rat in their apartment in the United States.

I had a rat in my apartment when I lived in San Antonio, H said, furrowing his eyebrows in a sweet “please don’t say you hate this place – I’m from here” way.

Oh, I said, feeling the day’s self-righteousness slipping out of me. Okay.


7 Responses to “hating Beirut (with Tuesday morning update)”

  1. Sparkle said

    Oh, oh, oh! Virtual hugs, sweetie – wish I were there to battle the tailed one with you. And don’t let the two-legged rats get you down.

  2. M. said


  3. TwoSpot said

    Hope you’re in better humour today. I thought I was on F*** Lebanon for a sec. Don’t let the bastards grind you down (or that’s what Bono says)

  4. Sparkle said

    A different day, a different outlook.
    And guess what – Seattle has rats. Inside. There have been numerous reports of the darlings coming up through people’s toilets at inopportune moments. How’s THAT for nasty!? Hope you’re doing better – I’m thinking about you (and the rest of the family).

  5. intlxpatr said

    That spider wasn’t just big, he was the worst kind – HAIRY! OH CRAPOLA!

    I hate to tell you this, but Seattle has epidemics of rats. I had to have the exterminators to the house TWICE. Once, Merlin brought a dead rat inside (it pays to keep cats; they are death on rats) and once one died under the house and I had to live with the stench a week until it subsided. Ugh ugh ugh.

  6. Thanks Sparkle & M for your Monday comments. UGH, that was an awful day. I think the rat has been confined to the sewer, which helped my grouchiness level.

    TwoSpot, you made me laugh out loud. FL makes some good points with a very sharp wit – I don’t want to compete with him!

    Sparkle #2: great. so perhaps keeping the rat in the sewer won’t turn out to be such a foolproof plan. I will be keeping a careful eye on my commode from now on.

    Khalti, ooh. I should get a cat. or cats. And yes, it was some spider. In fact, it would have made a great model for any company looking to produce fake, terrify-your-family spiders for Halloween.

  7. Maria said

    Ugh!! If it’s any consolation, owlfish had recurring mouse infestations in Toronto.

    I know what you mean about the collective mentality because I feel that exists in Italy, too. Trash is always someone else’s problem; after all, don’t they pay people to sweep the streets and collect the trash?

    They have been really aggressive about not allowing any food on the metro in DC. There have been a couple silly high profile incidents where they put a 12-year-old girl in handcuffs for eating french fries. But really, it’s helped to keep the system vermin-free (unlike the subway in NYC).

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