Monday, March 17, 2008

In the Year 2525..

...If man is still alive, If woman can survive, They may find...". Did you know that this song by Zager and Evans was on top of the charts when Neil Armstrong was landing on the moon in 1969? Very interesting. Anyhoo, I don't know why this song jumped to my head when I first got this event invite on Facebook the other day.

Before I tell you about this invite, let me take a step back and tell you about the Frozen Wastelanders obsessive-compulsive need to plan everything well in advance. It's really extreme here, I'm talking "booking-your-wedding-date-and-time-2-years-in-advance" weird. I can definitely see the upside of extreme planning. Your week becomes very organized since you know when you're going out and with whom. Personally, I have been managing projects for the last 5 years and I managed to keep the majority on track over the course of months and sometimes years thanks to planning. But I chose to do less planning when it comes to trivial things in life like going out for a movie or a house party. A life that is planned 5 days in advance is one too boring for me, I prefer more spontaneous people and plans.

But of course you can't be spontaneous on your own here in the Wastelands, believe me, I tried. First few weeks here, I called people up on Saturday evening to check out what we'll be doing. Nothing. People were already booked for extremely simple things for the next few days if not a week or so in advance! So I learned that in order to get on people's calendars for a movie night, I probably need to contact them a week in advance. You live and learn.

Which takes me to the Facebook invite I mentioned earlier. I got used to getting invites for house parties 1-2 or even 3 weeks in advance, which is okay. So the other day I get an invite 2 months and half in advance. Yes an invite that is 10 weeks in advance. An invite that gives you 20% of the year as a notice. And no, it's not an invite for a wedding in Hawaii, where the lead time would be needed to try and fish for a bargain ticket, it's an invite for a birthday party on a Saturday afternoon at a dude's place? I didn't know how to process it. I couldn't accept or decline it, unlike everyone else I don't know what I'll be doing for the next 10 Saturday nights.

I know, I'm pathetic, don't look at me.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Salam, Brother..

I despise trend-whores. You know the ones who'll jump on anything new and pick it up whether it suites them or not? In the two years I've spent here in the Frozen Wastelands I've noticed that as a percentage of the total population, the trend-whores are a very big chunk. Actually they are such a big group that there's a slang term to describe them. It's choco. Unfortunately, turns out it's not a derogatory term like I hoped, but rather meaning how hip and kwel you are. Ugh.

One of the more interesting trends that caught on here is wearing a keffiyeh (in Egyptian-Arabic it's more of a koffieyh, but I went with how WikiGod has spelled it). And not any keffiyeh, the trademark checkered one. It's interesting because in the last 40+ years the checkered keffiyeh was made famous by the late Palestinian leader Arafat and became a worldwide symbol of the Palestinian cause. More recently with the Intifadas the keffiyehs made their way to universities worldwide and came to represent a political statement: solidarity with the Palestinian cause. It's very sad to see such a powerful symbol turned into a kwel trend and none of the trend-whores prancing around wrapped in it understand its real meaning.

But on a more practical note, tell if I could pull this off. I let my beard go, put on my keffiyeh and my kaki pants and a black shirt. I also stuff my alarm clock (which has this big digital red display) into my backpack and put it on countdown mode. Then, I roam the streets here till I find one of them trend-whores, I approach him and speak in a very broken English, with a heavy Arabic accent:

Brother Fesh: Brother, Salam... I see you are one of us?
*point to his keffiyeh
Wastelander Brother: Przepraszam? (Frozen Wastelandees for 'Excuse me?')
*hold his keffiyeh and mine and explain
Brother Fesh: We, together...BOOM! BOOM! *throw my hands in the air..

If he still didn't pee his pants or run away, I'll open my backpack very slowly and give him a peek at the bold red digits slowly counting down.