HAVE YOURSELF ANOTHER ANXIETY MORNING

WITH LOVE, LEBANON

7AM — I wake up to check whether electricity has come. I look from the balcony wishing to see the determining light off. Of course not, the generator is on. This means a day of concessions. Just with the arrival of sweaty temperatures. I guess I will start the washing machine before it becomes too hot to work without AC. I also meant to shower with warm water, but never mind.

7AM to 8AM — Don’t open the news. Don’t check social media. Pretend this is Europe where breaking news refers to whatever is happening in the Middle East and other haunted regions. I do yoga instead and look with fascination at the new leaves growing from the tree.

9AM — Yala if the country is burning I ought to know by now. Akid! First headline: “Lebanon: Is War Coming?” Who even uses such a title. No care for PTSD and other traumas married to people in the region. Then again, it is a valid question because unprecedented (journalists seem to love this word) economic collapse and political paralysis. The article continues stating ‘Social conflict is at an all-time high and regional wars and geopolitical tensions are simmering. This combination has historically been a recipe for war in Lebanon, so is war coming?’ You tell me.

10AM — A loud plane interrupts the workflow. Why was it flying this low and what kind of sound is it? By now, I can usually distinguish helicopters, Lebanese army planes, commercial planes and Israeli warplanes. Or missiles. Nothing new by the way, the past weeks helicopters and planes have been flying incessantly, LOUD and LOW in evening hours above the neighborhood (a crowded residential area). Rumors say it was a training for the military. I say it is a lack of respect towards citizens already coping with a variety of traumas. Think of the children that survived the 4th of August explosion?

11AM — For Ali’s visa, we need to get a bank statement. Since months, trips to the bank have become unpredictable but most of all highly frustrating. Lebanese banks have imposed serious limitations to people accessing their own money stuck in their bank accounts. Even though the sad truth is that savings, salaries and retirement already lost up to 80% of their values, the ongoing economic crisis leaves many Lebanese bank holders with no choice but to withdraw monthly whatever is left and permitted from these accounts.

11:30AM — We finally found a parking after circling around for over 20 minutes in the busy streets of Hamra. Ali’s branche appears to be closed until further notice. Yet people are standing at the entrance, and from time to time a heavily secured door opens and a head of one of the employees peaks out to check who is there. She tells Ali that he should go to another branche in Hamra.

12PM — After driving another few circles to find a parking in the same neighborhood, we find the other branche. The branche seems to have vanished from the earth. We ask an army officer nearby: he says its closed and we should go to Verdun. That’s at least a 20 minutes drive, + 20 minutes finding a parking. We get the car but have to stop again in the midst of Hamra Street: a demonstration. Containers are being pulled from the sideway and thrown onto the street to block traffic. All the solidarity with the protesters. I mean, if you’ve made it so far into this article you may understand the frustration.