As Lebanese, we’re a rare breed of whacky complexes and insecurities just waiting to implode. And whether we’re out clubbing with a Vodka-Redbull in one hand and a cigarette in the other, or bragging about our relationship to the mokhtar’s mother-in-law, we’ve adopted a range of colorful habits that are just begging to be dropped.
We’ve all been there – you’re standing in line at Bank Audi, at ABC, or in some dingy public office when an arrogant tante slowly starts to shove her way past you with total disregard for public courtesy. Yes, a bunch of the aforementioned places have started to use a ticket numbering system, but it’s going to take years before the wild masses adapt to such a disciplined concept.
Solution: Politely ask the trespasser to wait his or her turn. If they start to get hostile and you find yourself in the middle of a screaming match, pray that the LibanPost employee watching the show doesn’t take her side (yup, that happened to me once).
Picture this: you’re out having dinner with friends. You take a bite, look up, and everyone at your table is suddenly tapping away at their phones. Some are WhatsApp-ing, others are browsing Facebook, and all of them are obliviously nodding along to what you have to say. Sure it’s insulting, but did you honestly think you could compete with the iPhone 5? To be fair, paying more attention to our smartphones than our loved ones is a global epidemic in an increasingly-connected world. However, we Lebanese do it with an extra dose of attitude and smugness.
Solution: Make sure your phone is on silent (not vibrate) and place it face-first on the table. When it’s not relentlessly lighting up and emitting sounds to grab your attention, you’ll be much less inclined to check your Insta-feed every three seconds. I’m happy to report that I’ve been applying this technique for a few months now (remember, you can’t cure this disease overnight) and the results look promising. Who knew social interaction of the non-virtual kind could be so entertaining?
Everybody knows that texting and driving is even worse than getting behind the wheel when you’re drunk. And yet, even with the alarming number of car crashes that haunt our country on a monthly basis, I still see numerous drivers fiddling with their phones while speeding on highways. It’s bad enough that our streets are populated by satan’s minions, now we have to deal with this added complication as well? The odds are truly against you Lebanon.
Solution: Put your (silent) phone somewhere you can’t reach. My personal preference is dumping it in my laptop case in the backseat. This way, you won’t be tempted to check your mobile every time you stop at a red light (another habit I’d recommend).
When Facebook first took flight circa 2007, the world began documenting every outing, holiday, and bathroom trip. This wild picture craze eventually died down (sort of), until the recent Insta-revolution. Today, there’s absolutely no escape, particularly from the influx of lo-fi food snaps. Maybe it’s because the Lebanese have an inherent need to showcase that they’re hip and “in” when it comes to dining out at the town’s latest hotspots. While I won’t deny that I love taking pictures of my bingeful activities, I’m also well aware that I have a problem (the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem).
Solution: Start small and try to decrease the amount of pictures you take of your food. You don’t have to stop cold turkey, but limit yourself to half-a-dozen snaps a meal, and work your way down from there. Seriously, we all know what a Shake-Shack burger looks like, but there’s absolutely no need to register those calories for the world to see.
Punctuality is a remarkably foreign concept in this country. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent waiting in restaurants (or under houses) for friends to arrive. The worst part is that you’re often left looking like the crazy one as you bubble over with rage when the guilty party finally makes an appearance.
Solution: Give them a taste of their own medicine and be tardy yourself. Sadly, even when I force myself to be late, I still end up being early. Honestly I don’t think there’s a fix for this one. You’re on your own here.
Let’s all make a pledge: the next time we find ourselves exhibiting one of these gloriously bad habits, we’ll think twice and try to contain the craziness. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a pain perdu in front of me that is just begging for a photoshoot.