A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

Archive for the ‘bodybuilding’ Category

gym odds and ends – with an emphasis on “odd”

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on June 7, 2008

Two Saturday mornings ago, H picked me up from the gym so that we could attend part of a conference that AUB was having on museums. (Did I mention that we are both total nerds?)

When I got into the car, I noticed that he was frowning slightly. I asked him if everything was okay, and he said yes.

I had a dream earlier this morning that I was picking you up from the gym, H told me.

That didn’t seem terribly disturbing to me – actually, I thought it was a good dream, since it helped him remember the very important to-do item on his daily list :).

But it wasn’t just you, H continued, frowning deeper. I was also supposed to pick up Walid Jumblatt.

Interesting. And no wonder he was frowning.

For the past two weeks, I have been trying to reassure myself about this with arguments like the following: I like working out with my father when we’re in the same city, so I’m sure I would enjoy working out with Walid Jumblatt.

Its not working all that well, but I’m trying to move on anyway. And if Mr. Jumblatt ever does pop up on the elliptical next to mine, I’m sure we’ll find a lot to talk about.


Posted in Americans, Beirut, bodybuilding, health, Lebanon, politics, vanity, words | 1 Comment »

blowing hot, blowing cold: shared a/c and cold-borne illness

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 28, 2007

While Lebanon has been facing a semi-existential crisis for the past week, my office has spent the time in an equally fierce confrontation – this one over the air conditioning.

Now, as an American, I have no objection to air conditioning. But I have been ‘conditioned’ by “50 simple things you can do to save the Earth” and other environment-friendly movements to prefer temperate rooms. (Also, I get cold easily. I think one of my ancestors was part reptile.)

Our half of the office is divided into several air conditioning camps, ranging from those who prefer a frigid 13°C to those who like a balmy 24°C, which means that the a/c is largely off, which allows Beirut’s humidity to creep in. 

Hence my work-day unfolds along a temperature continuum:


At home I generally run my air conditioner/heater on “dry”, which takes away the humidity without making me feel like I’m in one of those super-cooled Kuwaiti malls.

Anyway. The subject of air conditioning led to a fascinating, if mutually mystifying, conversation with G yesterday, about what kind of illness comes from being cold.

G was shocked to hear that I do not believe that being cold – whether sitting under an over-charged air conditioner for too long or going out in the winter with just a t-shirt on – makes one ill in the digestively-disturbed sense.

I was shocked to hear that what I consider a universal truth – that going out in the cold can give one a cold or a fever or even the flu – may instead be merely a regional health belief.

But Diamond, G said, you cannot tell me that even if you eat only the healthiest food, if you go outside in Faraya in the middle of winter that you will not get [indigestion].

Mystified, I said, yes I can. I might get a head cold, or the flu, but my stomach would be fine.

I cannot believe it – here, in the seemingly sober field of modern medicine and health care, we have found a place where our cultures collide. Am I mistaken – are there American beliefs linking cold to stomach troubles?

In any case, I now have a new argument to wield at the office against the 13°C crowd: if you turn the thermostat down too far, there will be a mad rush for the restroom.

Posted in Americans, Arab world, Beirut, bodybuilding, friends, health, humor, Iowa, Lebanon, research, vanity, words | 1 Comment »