A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

acts of interpretation: Marlboros on Main Street

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 29, 2009

Last night I taught myself how to bluetooth – at least four years after the rest of the world learned. I was familiar with the concept: in January 2005, A. patiently walked me through the steps to activate my mobile so he could send me samples of the flirtatious video messages that anonymous Syrian women would send him whenever he kept his bluetooth on. They were a hoot – but I wasn’t in the market for phone flirts, and I wasn’t sure what else bluetooth was good for.

Yesterday, I learned. Bluetooth allows me to move the photos I have taken with my mobile phone to my laptop – magic, and much appreciated. I’ve had photos lingering there for over a year, which I can now send on to family and friends.

And I can share this photo, which I took last week, with you:


What would you think if you saw an empty Marlboro carton with Arabic writing on it lying on the sidewalk? (Brooklyn isn’t dirty, but there have been some very windy nights recently, which have left the streets and sidewalks looking a bit haggard in the early mornings.)

I think: someone recently returned from the Arab world, where cartons of cigarettes can be bought far more cheaply at the airport duty free than anywhere in the United States.

The Arabic writing, by the way, is not advertising copy: its a health warning, just like the ones printed on cigarette packs and cartons in Europe.

Seeing this carton made me smile (which, along with stopping to take a photo with my cell phone, definitely won me “weird Brooklynite of the morning” status among my fellow work-bound pedestrians), and made me feel that my two corners of the world are less distant than they usually seem.


2 Responses to “acts of interpretation: Marlboros on Main Street”

  1. LOLWaukee said

    You made me laugh when you mentioned your weird photo habits! Just the other day I was outside down on my knees with camera as close to the snow as possible – and, I thought –
    “What would someone say if they drove by right now and saw me?! Would they call 911?” Fortunately, I was back inside before the next car drove by!

  2. Hehe LOLWaukee, I can imagine the scene, and the alarmed-yet-helpful neighbors running over to see what might be wrong. Luckily New Yorkers are a bit more blase – or in any case they keep their distance until its clear that the person in question needs help of the neighborly (rather than professional!) kind 🙂

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