Sunday, September 26, 2004

Check Points: Can't Live With 'em, Can't Live Without 'em

Writing up these daily notes takes up a lot more time than I thought.

In the morning I went to my uncle's, I got introduced to Wissam, who seems to be his secretary, and oh my god he talks a lot. Uncle asked me to see if I could fix his server, I couldn't so I formatted it and reinstalled windows. That Wissam fella just can't shut up, I had to shush him several times throughout the process till he left me alone, I've got no clue how uncle can bear him. The CPU is overheating; I hope they didn't put back the case cover I removed. Computers just aren't cool with their covers on anyway. Well they're still stuck without any internet there, and so am I. I'm 3 weeks late on my monthly internet subscription.

I went back home in time for my acupuncture session. Kiki called, he's got the flu again, and wanted to come to my place to rest. He called during my acupuncture session and said he was too tired to make it to my house.

Nahida didn't have any decent lunch ready. So I called up Tania to see if she wanted me to bring over some lunch from AlLami's take-away/supermarket. Fetched a couple double cheese burgers and we ate them at her place. We played a couple of rounds on her little brother's PlayStation, I can't believe she won. The remainder of my stay at her place involved me vegetating several hours, there's something about her house that makes me feel sedated, but I really don't know what it is. Eventually I gathered enough will power to get up and go home. On the way someone signaled that I had a flat tire. I called Nahida's brother told him I've got a deflated tire. He told me to continue driving it slowly and that he'll check it out tomorrow.

I'll go see a doctor about my anus tomorrow.

September 24,

I really need to buy a UPS! These electricity cuts although predictable still catch me by surprise.

Today is Friday, the one day of the week I don't have to go through a gruesome session of acupuncture. So I had lunch at Maz's (the little brother of an old schoolmate). Maz leads a very boring life. Life in Iraq, war and terrorism aside, is very boring, but Maz takes the boredom to another level. The only thing that seems to run through his mind is computer games. He could easily spend 4 hours talking about the subject. So it's no surprise his mother is encouraging me to hangout with him.

After lunch, Maz and I played computer games for an hour or more. Then we went off to see his friend whose dad had just been assigned to the Iraqi embassy in Vienna. On the way Maz, who's still learning to drive, didn't notice the cop at a checkpoint signaling him to pullover, I pulled the steering wheel, and Maz parked the car diagonally to the curb instead of along the curb. The cop began to talk shit about us trying to evade the checkpoint, another cop aged about 16 added that we actually drove off and reversed which was not true. They began to threaten to take us to jail. It was literally a well rehearsed play, the first cop was the badass, he even began to yell at another cop for show, then came a couple of other cops to support his claims, then came the two nice guys that hinted that there was a 'peaceful way' to resolve the matter. 15 minutes and a 10,000 Iraqi Dinars bribe later, we were back on our way to Maz's friend's house. Maz picked up a bunch of CDs and we went back to his home.

What shocked me a little later about that experience at the checkpoint was how comfortably that 16 year old prat lied. It's very worrying to see that corruption is being passed down throughout the generations so fluidly. The experience also brings me back to an earlier observation of how Maz's 5 year-old cousin, was able to tell that his elder brother way lying about something silly and recently I saw something on BBC showing a bunch of English kindergarten kids unable to say anything while a magician was colouring in a picture with no paint, telling the kids that he's painting this and this colour in the process, while the narrator of the documentary was describing how children at such a young age aren't able to comprehend lies. Are Iraqi kids better equipped to lie I wonder.

I was very tired and had been throughout the day, so Maz walked me to the main street and I took a cab from there. The cab driver, as usual not really a cab driver by profession, was an ex-military pilot with a can of big can of cheap beer in his hand. As is the custom, we chatted about the state of the country and so on. He spoke to me of his pilot training abroad and he complained about the effects of the previous wars, sanctions, and the hold that Saddam had that prevented Iraqis from visiting the rest of the world, all of which led to his main complaint... the zealously of Islamic law that is being fed to the society and by the society. I guess the guy just wants to drink his can of beer in peace.

When I got home, Nahida hit me with the big one. The itchy sensation and the lump coming out of my rectum are the symptoms of Piles (Hemorrhoids). For me that was sufficient reason to freak out and get depressed. I spoke to a doctor on the phone and he prescribed some cream to relieve the pain, some laxatives, and some antibiotics, all of which Nahida promptly acquired. I then did a sitz bath which felt really good even though I did it all wrong. I'll get it right next time. I just hope that the operation if I have to do it isn't going to be as painful as I imagine. And boy this cream is great.

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