Schedules are updated every Thursday.

Clara Ghattas 11 Jan 2023

What If It Was ‘Emily In Beirut’?

Once upon a time in a faraway land called America lived an annoying girl named Emily Cooper. One morning at work, after she had just gulped her usual extra-large caramel latte, she found herself bombarded by a set of weird questions from her boss. After the questioning was complete, her boss finally spilled the beans and “Ms. Cooper, pack your bags we’ll be sending you to one of our international branches. You’ll love it!” Emily got so excited, where was she going to go? Italy? She could eat all the carbs she wanted… Dubai? Where she could tan all weekend in the sun… or… wait a minute…could it even be Paris? “Congrats, you got Beirut.” Emily stiffens as she asks confused “What’s a… Beirut?” Next thing she knew, she was on a plane to Lebanon, where it was going to be her home for the next year…or so. And here friends, is how it would have gone down. She’s welcomed to the country by an offensive bill of 800,000 LBP (only $17!) for a taxi from the airport. The driver insists on having a full on conversation with her that was full of things like “Amerkeniye ente, shou jeye ta3mle hon?”, “Beirut is beautiful but mfawle bad people.” (He meant the governing class, but she didn’t understand a word he was saying anyway.) She then arrived at her tiny apartment in Achrafieh, which her company had rented for her. And that was the last time she ever set foot outside for a week because… she immediately got poisoned. That’s how Emily learned to never EVER drink from the water tap. This is not Paris, idiot! Her neighbor, tante Siham, was her mortal enemy. It all started that one time Emily complained about how her shoes got wet because of Siham’s morning shatfe, Siham then took it upon herself to irritate her new next-door neighbor every chance she could. Every day she would get up at 8:35 a.m. and spend all her khazen’s worth on the most excessive shatfe you’ve ever seen, then she would spread a series of rumors and trash talk about her, such as “hel benet mech ndife, mech mtamnetle beleh,” with the rest of the neighborhood’s women over coffee. At work no one liked her either, and everyone tried their best to ignore her entire presence, especially Samira (Sylvie), her other mortal enemy. She tried to claim her own office space… but no one seemed to be listening to her. On the bright side, her salary was good (fresh $$$) … and everything was so cheap! She’d constantly be saying things like “$15 only for this sweater? Unbelievable! I have to post a story telling everyone back home!” (That’s her at LC Waikiki.) This naturally leads to people hating her even more. The only person directly benefiting from her is her Arabic tutor (he gave up on her learning anything long ago, but he’s still in it for the money). She doesn’t own a television in that house of hers, so she doesn’t have a clue about what’s happening in the rest of the country. Her main concern is coming up with the a new strategy to market the new ice cream flavor at McDonald’s. The company expects to tkasser el dene in the Dora branch. And…concerning her love life: She has three suitors: Rasheed the polyamarous pub owner, Marwan saheb el moteur, and Georges, that same old taxi driver (who keeps on abashedly reminding her that he’s still living with his mom, which means still ta7et nasibo, and looking for a bride.) Who will Emily pick? Who will be the lucky one? Now, it’s midnight, the electricity is out, so she’ll have to excuse herself and go to sleep. (Thinking about it, she should probably go for Marwan, don’t you agree?) Stay tuned for the upcoming season.