When I was young, they used to teach us at school how to describe the city and the viallge. In our Lebanese educational system, city and village were stock themes in writing courses. The first was always the hectic, busy, noisy bee-hive and the village was the calm, serene lazy scenery and lifestyle.
But has anyone ever really observed those settings closely?
Has anyone sat on a bench or stood on a sidewalk and watch the city streets?
It may have seemed that the loud noises from the cars and traffic jams conveyed the busy theme. But really, it is not!
The city is lazy. People walk like zombies, hypnotized. They are eyes have blank stares, their backs are bent forward as if weighed down by a heavy block. Their walks are steady but weak.
And the village?
The village is just the opposite.
An early wake up is not the so long taught description of a serene, calm village where the birds singing in the morning wakes you up for a fresh cup of coffee...
But let me tell you this (out of personal experience - of course !)
A usual weekday morning starts by waking up to the screams and shouting of the neighbors calling each other for coffee (fenjen ahweh) but this invitation does not end here. It extends to a real meeting between balconies and women. You know the kind where each is on her balcony, in her robe, bent on the rail, asking about the day's menu (shu l ghada l yom?) And other trivial matters such as new marriages, funerals, who went where and why... The usual gossip but truly Lebanese it makes you want to hug it and cherish it till ever more.
You might have sensed a change in tone from the beginning of the article till its end.
It was not intended of course. I tried to edit it to make it conform to the norms of proper writing. But i remembered that I am Lebanese and jumping ropes is what we do best.
So in the hope that you have enjoyed some personal gossiping on my side, i leave you with the following to ponder upon:
Has the city really invaded our villages? Or have we crossed the frontier of evolution?