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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Lebanese Princess

Sometimes, I really miss Lebanon. I know people reading this might get the wrong idea about me, but living here is definitely different from life in Beirut. Yes, Lebanon is behind in so many ways, but we live a pampered lifestyle, which I'm not saying is a good thing (so please, no hate mail). It's just that it is a big adjustment when you move. Even if you live alone there, you're never alone, alone. Car issues? Call dad or your brother to take care of it. Plumbing issues? Call dad or your brother, who then calls Abu Handyman to fix the problem.

I know, I know, but I am not a terrible example of a feminist. I am a staunch believer in equal rights, equal pay, equality in the eyes of the law. But does that mean that I have to shovel my own driveway from the snow? Does being an advocate for women's rights mean that I have to do manual labor?

This has been tough to get used to. I have always been independent, paying my own bills, etc, but when it comes to yucky stuff (see above), I always deferred to someone else to take care of it. Not because I'm incapable, but because I can't be bothered. I mean being alone, alone, sucks. In Richmond, you can't call dad to please call Abu What's-His-Name to come fix things. I have to do it myself, which - did I mention? - sucks.

For example, last week we had like eight inches of snow (we're getting more tonight). I could not get into my garage and I nearly broke my neck walking down the steps of my house to my car. I did not even have the foresight to salt my steps. I didn't even know there was special salt for the outside.

NSS called and asked where I was. I told her I was going to the grocery store to buy salt. She asked why, so I told her about my snow/ice problem and she started laughing. She was like, "Um, you can't just buy table salt." Oh. "Unless it's kosher," she quipped. "Really?" I responded, relieved. "NO," she said like I was world's biggest idiot. "Go to Home Depot."

So I head over to a hardware store and see giant burlap bags outside, praying this wasn't the salt I needed. How was I going to carry that to my car? It's not like Abu Somebody will do it for me. Luckily, they have small bottle sizes that even a wimp like me can carry. The guy there told me I would need two for my driveway. I gave him my Lebanese I-know-you're-trying-to-sell-me-something-I-don't-need side glance, convinced I only needed one. He shrugged, handed me the one and wished me luck.

So, of course, I needed two. But it did soften the snow a bit so I could ram my car into the garage. I drew the line at shoveling. I am not a prisoner in a Siberian detention camp! I was just so proud of myself that I got in with just the salt, until my car skidded and I hit a door in my garage. I still considered it a success.

I did manage to change a light bulb in my garage using a ladder all on my own. I was going to wait for the always reliable Dr JH to come and do it when he next visited, but then thought, nah, I got this. The glee I felt when the light came on was really undeserved. I felt like I was Thomas Edison. I proudly proclaimed to NSS, "I changed that light bulb all by myself," as if I had actually invented the light bulb. She wasn't impressed. "Now you need to change the filters of your air ducts."

Wait... what? Doesn't Abu Help-Please do that?

Follow me on Twitter @anissarafeh

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Fabulosity of Anissa

Mr. B inspired me the other week. He is great at combing through headlines in the local papers in the 'Root, posting them on Facebook and then slamming them. I particularly love the ones about Lebanese who have achieved a modicum of success in the arts and are completely in love with themselves. I don't understand why most of those people are born without the modesty gene. I guess the ego gene is just far too dominant. It made me think of how I would be if I were one of those people that thought that paid for followers and one newspaper article meant I was a 'star'.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy the article (that could have been) with Anissa the Fabulous.

Disclaimer: I realize people not familiar with the local Beirut papers will not get the sarcasm, so I just want to emphasize that this is a satire and I don't think that I am the world's greatest anything, except maybe worst cook.

Anissa Rafeh is a vision sitting on her comfortable sofa, the sun shining through the windows in her luxurious townhouse in the uber glamorous city of Richmond. "Do you like it," she asks me, as her fingers caress the lush white cushions. "It's Laz-eh Boiyh," she says with her upper crust accent that just drips with class.

We start talking about her great passion: writing. "Writing is my passion. I am so passionately passionate about it. I write passionately about passionate things because I am a passionate person who approaches everything in life with passion," she explains. "My life is writing; writing is my life. We co-exist in harmony in my soul and in my heart... which is full of passion."

Her phone then pings and she picks it up. It is a common sound for her, as she receives an endless (not really) amount of mail from fans (or her mom) each day, telling her how much they adore her blog and relish every word that emerges from her perfectly manicured fingertips.

She reads the screen and giggles charmingly, as if to herself. "Oh, this fan just said that my writing touches his soul. And that I am the mirror image of Elizabeth Taylor when she was in her 20s. Ha ha ha," she trills in modesty. "Surely he miss-typed and means when she was in her 30s." Yes, she is that modest. Such compliments clearly embarrass her (not in the slightest).

Her blog has recently caught on fire (she accidentally burned her laptop with a scented candle from Bath & Bodyworks). Just yesterday, it recorded five unique visitors. Yes, you read correctly, five. This, of course, is an amazing accomplishment. What other blogger can boast such phenomenal numbers? 

"Yes, it's true. My blog is just so popular. People stop me on the street all the time (to ask for directions). They could stop anybody and ask where the mall is, but no, they ask me. It's their way of saying, 'Hey, we recognize you but don't want to embarrass you, so we're using this excuse just to get to talk to you.' I get this all the time, but that is the price of blogging fame."

Writing about her amazingly exciting life of going to work, shopping at the mall and being in awe of Target (which she so classily pronounces Tarjeh) have made her an internet wunderkind. Not many bloggers can boast such a fascinating life. To prove her immense popularity, she has one million (minus 900,960) followers on her blog alone. She used to have a huge following on Instagram too, but a 'glitch' in the system brought down her 500k followers to five. 

"My (non-existent) followers were devastated when they were suddenly dropped from my page. I still don't understand what happened and I'm working to fix this horrendous situation. Luckily, I don't feel alone, because Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian have had a similar problem. Oh, the injustice of it all," she said, her eyes glimmering with unshed tears. 

When asked why she thinks readers are so attracted to her one-of-a-kind, unique, nothing like it at all blog, she pauses briefly and carefully ponders her well thought-out, original response.

"I think it's about my passion, which I don't think I properly emphasized before. My reader(s) feel it through my passionate writing, and this is what draws (all five of) them to my blog. Yes, it is all about my passion. Did I mention my passionately passionateness passionate writing yet?"

How eloquently said. 

Follow me on Twitter @anissarafeh