Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 16, 2008
Yesterday afternoon H took me across town for my bi-monthly surrender to vanity, otherwise known as a facial. Yes, I know: grooming while Rome burns. But there’s no sense in having my skin care regime collapse just because the Lebanese state is.
We took the Fouad Chihab overpass – the same one we tried to take last Thursday. There were no burning tires this time, but there were plenty of dirt mounds. It was a funny kind of blocking: we couldn’t go all the way across the overpass, but we could go part way, exiting onto a small side street that looped us through the back end of Zoqaq al-Blatt before depositing us on the road that leads up to Sodeco with Monot on the left. Well, the road that usually leads up to Sodeco – in order to get there, we had to cross over to Tariq al-Sham, the old Green Line.
We had done the same trip the night before on our way to dinner at Monks, so we knew all the ups and downs and loops all around that it required. But yesterday was the day that the Arab ministers were expected to propose a framework for solving the current Lebanese crisis, and on Fouad Chihab both government and opposition were preparing to do their bit when the time came:
See the two bulldozers and all the men gathering around? We saw opposition men in regular clothing, darak/ISF soldiers in their white and black camouflage uniforms, Sukleen workers ready to sweep the street clean of any remaining garbage, and the beginning of a press cotillion to cover it all.
Its still not totally normal here – the requirement for today’s scheduled dialogue session in Doha is a return to the status quo of May 5, but Hizbullah security men (boys, really) are still lurking in my neighborhood, and I saw the same SSNP “protection forces” in Hamra when I walked through this morning.
Or maybe this is the new normal. After all, the Lebanese are nothing if not adaptable. So perhaps in a week or so I’ll think of my neighborhood’s invading goons with the same affection that I feel for the coffee vendor. Especially since I think that the reason he no longer sells coffee on my street is that he’s too busy with his other job: as supervisor of the Hizbullah boys. The new normal, indeed.