Friday, March 30, 2007

Can't Think Of A Title

I think I might have to come to terms with the fact that's impossible to fix my sleeping schedule. Thursday morning I woke up at seven in the morning just like I would have to had I had college that day. I have classes at college on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But by the time the week-end is over I'm sleeping at one or three in the morning and waking up at around midday. So when Sunday comes it's a nightmare to wake up and when I get home I'm flat out exhausted and spend the rest of the week sorting out my sleeping schedule.

Yesterday was a crappy day, and it seemed as if just about everyone I spoke that day had a crappy day too. It started off when I chose to go to the petrol station and got stopped at a checkpoint. Iraqi army guy stops asks me where I'm coming from, I tell him from my home in the same neighbourhood, then he asks me if the car's mine. I stutter a bit and tell him it's in registered in my dad's name. And because I stuttered he told me to pull over to the side. He then proceeds to open my boot on his own whereas usually the soldier would ask me to open it for him. Then he opens the door to my car and starts fidgeting hastily through my stuff and underneath the seats. First thing he asks me is where do I work with a notable degree of apprehension. I tell him I'm a student and show him student id he takes a look at it says it's old, I explain that they haven't issued a new one. Asks me what my iPod was. I tell him it's an mp3 player and showed him how it's connected to the car stereo through a CD car kit. At this point I notice another soldier standing behind him. Then he asks me how much it costs, I lied and told him I got it as a gift and don't know how much it costs. He then takes the car documents and my ID and asks me if I've got a legal document permitting to drive my dad's car. I've heard of checkpoints asking about that, but it makes no sense. I told him I didn't and with a laugh asked him if he had one when he drives his dad's car. To which he answered he did as if he was speaking the truth. So I finally exclaimed while still laughing about the situation that that would mean I stole my dad's car. To which he said no and let me go without an apology.

It pisses me off to know that these guys get away with such harassment. Most of them are pretty decent and polite and excuse themselves. But every once in a while, I get stopped by a buffoon. And because I'm not fluent in Arabic I can't go and raise a fuss because then I'd raise some suspicion because of my heavy accent. And I haven't heard of any official channel through which people can complain about such issues. The truth being that if such a channel existed it would easily overload and it would be too much of a task to deal with.

Well that experience pissed me off for the rest of the day. When I got to the petrol station the queue had veered off from the main street and into the side streets, so it looked to me as if wasn't worth the wait. And I then came back at around midday and the queue looked the same. And so I ended up spending two and a half hours in the queue. I had forgotten to buy some cigarettes before getting into the queue, but luckily I found a couple that I had take from Od (who has gone off to see his family in Yemen) a couple of days earlier. When I reached the end of the queue I had a go at a couple women drivers. They get their own queue since they're women. I let one slide ahead of me and then the next one wanted to go ahead of me too so I had a go at her and told her that since I let one woman go ahead she should take her turn and go behind me. She whined and said that the other drivers don't let her through. And then another woman got ahead of her and I had a go at her and told her that the other woman was ahead of her in the line.

I was hungry so I decided to go to a restaurant and see a nearby doctor to check out the bump on my wrist. When I got there it surprised me to see that they've placed junk all along the main road to prevent people from parking. I drove to a little parking lot on the main street that was full and spoke to the guy in charge, he told me the parking lot was reserved for the doctors working in the building and that I should park my car in a side street and inform a shop keeper that the car is mine. So I did that, and had to promise a couple of times that the car won't explode.

Went to the restaurant, they had no more shawerma left, so I walked out and spotted a new restaurant and decided to give it a shot. It was a barbecue restaurant with kebab and tikka etc. I had myself a half portion of meat tikka, it wasn't bad. What was nice was that there was plenty of little hot green peppers in the pickle dish served as part of the entré. I've catagorised the barbecue restaurants into two types there are the ones that serve hummous and those that don't. And then the better the hummous the better the restaurant. This one didn't have any hummous.

There was a new grocery store next door to the restaurant which I checked out. It was disappointing to see another relatively big store with the same range of products as a store half its size. The sanctions are over but traders are still too scared to operate and bring in a greater variety of goods. And it pissed me off to see yet again the guy at the cash register permitting himself to get distracted instead of dealing with each customer in turn. All I wanted was a pack of cigarettes and some juice and not to listen to some chick trying to haggle over the price of a phone card or some other person trying to get the price on some fish.

I then went over to the dermatologist doctor that I regularly see. He checked out the bump on my wrist. He said it's a muscle thing and not a bone and he asked me if I worked with a screwdriver a lot I explained I was learning how to play the guitar. He made fun of me for leaving England coming to Iraq and learning how to play the guitar. He gave me some pills to take and said if it still bothers me he could stick a needle into it. He also gave me some ointment to use on my chest which has this chronic rash. These day it's not as bad, but there are times when it really starts to bug me so it was cool to have something handy.

When I got home I hit the bottle, and got slightly wasted. There was nothing better to do. I sobered up around midnight and made a couple of phone calls. My operator's got this new deal that allows you to pay for the first three minutes and the rest of the hour is free. Which is pretty cool. What sucks about my operator is that unlike the others it still doesn't offer GPRS or WAP. But when I was at the doctors I noticed a little 'G' next to the signal strength indicator, but when I got home it was gone. So maybe they're working on it.

I've nearly finished learning the guitar exercises my tutor gave me to do last January. I'm such a slow learner. So maybe this coming week or the next I'll go see him and get told I'm doing it wrong and get a new bunch of exciting exercises.

A few days back my gang from the class went out together after college and had some falafel in the Karada district and shopped through the market stands on the street. I bought a pair of sunglasses for a couple of bucks, dodgy as hell since there's no guarantee they have UV protection, but I don't know if that means they hurt your eyes more than if you were not to wear them. Got some Zippo flints for less than a buck that I've been trying to get my hands for a very long time but which whenever I see them are part of a box set. Luckily for me the guy was willing to take one out of the box set and sell it to me individually. And I finally got a DVD copy of the new James Bond movie for about a dollar and a half. I also saw a Playstation 3 there, unfortunately that wasn't in the same price range as all the other stuff I bought, it was priced at 800 dollars. I told the guy it was a good price and he said it's being sold for the same price in the UK. I laughed to myself about the sucker who was going to buy it at that price. I myself am looking forward to buying a Wii, but Nintendo isn't a popular brand here like Sony is and so the Wii has yet to make an appearance here.

I spoke to my dad on the phone last night. He's getting married. It's been over twenty years that he's been wanting to do it and he's been engaged numerous times. But it looks like he's finally going to do it. He's had the 'Islamic' marriage done and he's soon going to get a civil marriage done too.

I had to speak to my dad about this new problem I've got. Nahida had got my dad a new civil ID card but couldn't get one for me. They told her that I have to be present and that I'd have to change my place of birth to Baghdad.

What doesn't help is that for some reason I've got another ID that I got ten years ago which is called 'The Proof of Nationality' I think that says I was born in Baghdad. I hadn't noticed the discrepancy until a couple of years ago and when I asked Nahida about it who was there when we made it, she said that the official at the time advised us to do so just in case.

Just in case, something like what my auntie told me about a couple of months ago happens again? She told me how Saddam had wanted to purge Iraq from all the Iranians that had previously gained Iraqi citizenship somehow. So that if you couldn't prove you were a true Iraqi you'd be treated like a second class citizen or you'd get thrown at the Iranian border.

It wouldn't be such a problem but when I make my new Iraqi passport it too would then say I was born in Baghdad and so when I show up at passport control with two passports (one British and one Iraqi) with two different places of birth it would look fishy.

It's midnight now and I'm feeling a bit drowsy maybe I could go to sleep earlier than I did last night. I should call Nahida's bro tomorrow and tell him to take my car and fix it up some more. It's already started to screw up in a bad way. I better study tomorrow too. I'm hungry, I'm going to steal a piece of bread that Nahida bought yesterday. If it's in my freezer I can take it.

Oh yeah and it's my brother's birthday today. I called him up, he was happy today because his sugar reading was healthy today meaning that he's learning to control his diabetes. And the half-Iraqi chick won the Star Academy contest. I really don't care, someone just messaged me about it right now and it's somewhat of a topic people like to talk about. It's one in the morning and I still can't think of a title to the post. I give up.

3 comments:

2turk said...

The American/British oil barons plan to pilfer and steal Iraqi petroleum resources inorder to enrich themselves. A Jim Hightower animation addresses the issues.

http://tinyurl.com/3xgmah

Anonymous said...

Shaggy,

"working with a screwdriver a lot" sounds like Iraqi slang for ... you know ...

Just teasin'.

Take care.

-- Tilli (Mojave Desert)

snafoo said...

I think Tilli might have a point :)

And yes, sunglasses without UV protection are much worse than going without any. Sunglasses widen the pupil, so more rays get in.