I think everyone who lives beyond Naher el Kaleb and works in Beirut are heroes. I mean the commitment is massive. Being called “09” is one thing, but putting up with the commute is another – I did it for two years and then quit, the happiest day of maaa life. Now, I visit Beirut occasionally or for meetings and enjoy the beauty of my capital not its hardships.
1- I got to pee before I go.
I once cried on the sea side road, hysterically, like it was not pretty, tapping on the glass, because my bladder couldn’t take it anymore and I was stuck in traffic and there was no way out. This is how every Keserwani learns to tinkle before getting behind the wheel – they experience bladder pressure.
The ride is long and the promised land is far away and at no point during the ride, so we visit the restroom before we leave the house and on our way back before we leave the office/University. Because if you have a tiny bladder, when you see that Nahr El Kaleb tunnel tears will run down your face, you will “cry me a river” or rather cry by that dry river, and you may just pee yourself at 25 years-old because that’s your only way out.
2- Pros at dressing in Restrooms too.
Because all the parties are in Beirut, the guys will take that ironed shirt and nice shoes at 8 am and wear them at 8 pm in their office’s restroom. And, the ladies, including me, will take their whole wardrobe and makeup with them; and God forbid we forget something we’ll have to go buy it from a near-by mall, because there is no chance in hell we can go home and get it, unless we’re attending an after after after party that starts at 1 am.
I now own 9 pairs of black tights – because I always forgot to pack the ones I had at home.
3- Mom: Take a jacket and an extra pair of socks… why?
Well, so, when your parents live on the other side of the bridge they think the weather in Beirut is different, like, VERYYYY different. When it’s just not… it’s like here, mom. And so, she always recommends you take 10 jackets an extra pair of socks, a scarf, a photo of your family in case you forgot how they look, etc. and you’re like: it’s really 20 min away without traffic if you think about it. I leave home at 7 am mom because Lebanon’s infrastructure is a mess, not because I am driving to Beqaa everyday.
4- The Essential Coffee Mug and favorite Morning Radio-Hosts.
All people who have to commute for two hours a day have THE COFFE MUG – because coffee at the office is like 10 years away. And, if you lose it, the “Newelne” guy on your way becomes your best friend. But, that’s only if you lose it or forget to wash it and leave it in your car and end-up throwing it away and buying a new one. And, when you have that coffee you’re always listening to your favorite radio-host because iTunes playlists are for the afternoon drive back. I would like to thank Olga & Gavin along with Tanguy when I wanted to connect with my French side, thank you for being there for me, or else I only had the voices in my head to chat with.
5- Your car has enough stuff for you to live on for a year.
If you add them up on a good day we’re driving 1.30 hours, on a bad day 3 hours – so, you can only imagine what our cars look like and contain. I literally had an extra gym bag, an extra bag of decent clothes if I decide to stay in Beirut, a makeup pouch – because you never have the time to do your makeup before leaving the house – perfume and deodorants because you never want to smell, countless number of water bottles, gum or any kind of candy in case you feel like you’re fainting, an iPhone cable because you’re going to be calling all your contacts when you’re stuck in traffic, papers of all sorts that you never know how they got there and what they’re for, and a bunch of Parking tickets. So, in case of emergency, if we had to drive across the border Keserwanis who work in Beirut have enough to live on for a while.
I remember how happy we were when summer came and colleges and schools were out and we had it easy but I also remember the sad days when it’s Christmas or Ramadan came and we had hell to deal with… but hey, Beirut we still love you even if we don’t like you sometimes.
People who make this commute everyday, I salute you!