A Conversation with Tubby – 12

I was sitting alone at the farthest corner inside the café, sipping peacefully on my tea when he helped himself to the chair across from me.

Me: What do you want?

Tubby: Now, now! Is that anyway to greet an old friend?

Me: What’s with the pretentious language! Who do you think you are, freaking Mr. Darcy?

Tubby: Ah, classical literature references, now who’s being pretentious?

Me: What do you want? Can’t you see I’m enjoying the silence?

Tubby: Hardly so. You’ve been trying to find one good thought to write about to no avail.

Me: So?

Tubby: So I’m here to the rescue.

Me: And how exactly do you intend to help?

Tubby: Let’s see. You’ve had some interesting ideas on the way here. Like when you were stuck in traffic under that bridge

Me: And I started thinking what if the bridge collapsed. That’s not very interesting.

Tubby: Well, the interesting part is that you were wondering if you should leave your car and come to the café anyway.

Me: Your point?

Tubby: It’s funny how you start with something colossal and then forget about it and start thinking about the minor stuff.

Me: What can I say, a life of micro-planning is sure to produce some side effects.

Tubby: well, it’s not only that. You always sweat the small stuff.

Me: No I don’t!

Tubby: Yes you do. Even before going anywhere you start thinking what route you should take despite having been there a zillion times.

Me: That’s unfair, I stopped doing that. That is not to say I like to be prepared. Nothing wrong with having a plan.

Tubby: The best laid plans of mice and men…

Me: Often go astray. I know, I know. I’ve had my fair share of plans going astray. I’m not saying plans should always work, I just like to keep them handy, safety tools you might say.

Tubby: Drop the shrink talk. You’re obsessed with planning.

Me: “Obsessed” is pretty much shrink talk if you ask me.

Tubby: I didn’t ask you.

Me: Very funny.

Tubby: No, really. Think about it. The biggest problem with that bridge collapsing, for you, would be that it messed with your schedule.

Me: Would you please stop psychoanalyzing me? You said you were here to help, you didn’t give me one interesting idea to write about.

Tubby: Why write? Can you just sit here, stare at that cat out of the window and drink your tea? Why do you have to “do” something all the time?

Me: Okay, it’s getting late, I’m getting out of here…

A Conversation with Tubby – 11

He was standing on the porch, listening intently to the birds, yearning for a life he’s never had when all that was shattered by the sound of his name being screamed from inside the house

Me: Tubby! What is wrong with you? The whole neighborhood heard me calling your name

Tubby: I’m sorry, my ears have been understandably elective these past couple of years; they don’t choose to hear the sound of people calling me to talk about themselves and rub their lives in the face of my non-existent life.

Me: Oh my God. I knew I shouldn’t let you watch too many Turkish soap operas. All the drama aside, I’ll pretend you weren’t talking about me and I’ll have you know I’m was calling you to tell you about something that actually pertains to your pathetic, pity-indulgent self.

His eyes sparkled ad he was suddenly interested.

Tubby: Really? What, who, where… Did you get me those new dentures I wanted for my birthday?

Me: Well, when was your birthday again? Never mind. No, not that. Actually someone wants to meet you.

He turned his back again with disinterest.

Tubby: Nah. Who’d want to meet me?

Me:  I am telling you someone wants to meet you.

Tubby: Well I don’t want to meet anyone.

Me: Come on, it’s time you came out of that rusty shell of yours!

Tubby: Why, I’m perfectly happy in here.

Me: Please, you won’t regret it. It’s a friend of mine, you’d like them.

Tubby: A boy or a girl?

Me: I won’t tell you, you have to meet them and see.

Tubby: But this is not fair, you know I get curious.

Me: Exactly my point.

Tubby: But why would your friend want to see me?

Me: Because I always talk about you. See, you’re important. And because you have so much influence over my actions.

Tubby: Aha, I see, so it’s all about you again.

Me: No it’s not. I mean, it is but that means it’s about you too because we’re the same person in the end.

Tubby: Well then great, if they met you then they have already met me, problem solved.

Me: Yes but they want to get to know who… what you actually are.

Tubby: Do you know?

Me: Well, I’m not sure. You’ve been quite inconsistent. One day you’re my partner in crime, tempting me to take clearly wrong decisions justifying them with all kind of nonsense, and another day you’re the voice of wisdom in my head. You’re not my ego but you’re not my superego either. You’re somewhere in between.

Tubby: Yeah. That’s what I tell my people about you too. They couldn’t understand it so I ended up accepting being called a crazy man.

Me: Your people?

Tubby: Yes. You see, you too fall somewhere between my ego and my superego but it’s not easy to tell people that you’re a hundred year-old man with an imaginary friend.

Me: Okay, I can ignore you trying to look younger than your real age but I can’t ignore an imaginary figure calling me imaginary.

Tubby: Well, imaginary figures always think they are real so there you go.

Me: You’re insane. Nobody is imaginary here but you

Tubby: If I was so imaginary and you were so real then how come you’re asking me to meet this friend of yours?

Me: Well if you were so real then how come I never met any of your “people”?

Tubby: I rest my case!

Me: No you do not! Case not rested…You know what? I don’t want you to meet my friend or anyone not only because you’re imaginary but also because you’re evil, and mean

Tubby: Well, you could’ve saved yourself all this if you listened to me in the first place when I told you to leave me alone…

Me: Jerk…



A Conversation with Tubby – 10

He was sitting in the corner, cuddled up inside a thick blanket, sipping his special blend of coffee, chocolate, soy milk and sugarcane juice and onion soup.

Me: that thing smells awful, I wouldn’t feed it to a dog, how do you drink it?

Tubby: Smells just fine to me.

Me: Then take it and go inside, it’s distracting me and damaging this perfect peaceful mood.

Tubby: Oh, sorry. Because of course I can’t be no part of that. You’re perfectly happy with your tea and your book and your heater. Just warm and cozy, poor Tubby has no place there.

Me: What’s with all the drama? Yes, I made it clear, a good book with a cup of tea beside the heater at the end of the day is better than all the imaginary friends in the world, that including you.

Tubby: I wish I could say I was disappointed, but I’m not. I just expected as much from you. What’s that book anyway?

Me: The Importance of Being Earnest. A classic. Been meaning to read it for a while, finally got around to it. It’s light and full of clever serious-sounding grotesque remarks on society. Quite funny too. I love Oscar Wilde.

Tubby: I thought you weren’t into classics; saw them as irrelevant and a waste of time.

Me: well, not exactly. I still like to read a classic once in a while. But you know, this one is quite eccentric for a classic, it breaks away from the standards followed back then with regards to what was acceptable in literature and in society. It’s very critical in its own way.

Tubby: I don’t care much for literature, nor for society.

Me: Okay, I’ll tell you something interesting. There’s a line in the book, which is a play by the way, that I’ve known and loved forever: “Memory is the diary we all carry around with us”. A woman says it commenting on why she isn’t interested in keeping a diary.

Tubby: You don’t keep a diary, do you?

Me: Hmmm, no. Thought of it but I’m not sure if I can face my actual thought in ink. I might write things in some sort of a code, but never the crude real thing. Besides, I think it’s too risky. I mean, what if I wrote it and someone read it?

Tubby: Big deal! It’s not like you’re going to write down nuclear launch codes.

Me: It’s not like that, you idiot! I mean, for example my mom kept a diary when she was a teenager, she never mentioned it but few years ago one of her cousins mentioned that she once took a peak at my mother’s diaries, and she told us something which made me laugh actually but… I wouldn’t want my sister for example to one day stumble upon my own diaries, I’ll never hear the end of it!

Tubby: You make your life sound more interesting that it actually is

Me: Because it is more interesting than meets the eye. Well, it’s more interesting inside my head at least.

Tubby: But it’s interesting too to read things years after you’ve totally forgotten about them.

Me: That is for sure. And it’s funny, and somehow scary when you remember certain incidents in your life and think of the chain of events that followed, because everything is connected, no? I mean, sometimes I think of what could have been…

Tubby: That’s a slippery slope

Me: I know! But I don’t regret things, I’m sure this is the best and most suitable course for my life. I just think of what could have been if I had chosen another path, took different decisions, at different points of time. Like, what if I majored in sociology instead of languages? What if I took that job at the telecom company over the one at the translation company? I mean, even my friends would probably be totally different people.

Tubby: Why do you think of these things?

Me: I don’t know. Sometimes it’s amazing, I mean… I distinctly remember times when it felt like God sent me signs to choose a certain path or He made me steer away from something I was intent on doing, and which could’ve changed the person I am radically. Things that go back way to when I was 11 or 12 years old. You know you tend to be more self-destructive at that age…

Tubby: I have to admit you’ve been making some wise decisions lately

Me: I’m trying. You know, there’s that saying I heard in a movie that’s “In everyone’s life there is a crack through which the light comes in”. And then I thought, the point is to be able to recognize it. I mean, sometimes something might seem like that crack that lets light in but in reality, if you examine it closely, you’ll see it’s just a mistake.

Tubby: But mistakes could be tempting.

Me: Naturally. But at a certain age you know that the long term consequences are not worth the short-term satisfaction, which is more often than not a false satisfaction.

Tubby: Good, I feel less worried now.

Me: Hmmm, why were you worried?

Tubby: No reason in particular. Now I need to go pour this horrible drink down the drain…

das Leben ist kurz

This post comes to you by Google Translator

  german 2

geman 1

This is not a post about German language actually. I mean it’s funny how everyone is hounding it these days but to think of it, it seems like the Germans asked for it when they came up with this dialect-turned-language. Nothing against it, but I can’ for the life of me understand how they got the courage to write poetry and delicate literature with it. No wonder people committed suicide because of a Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther. I mean it’s bad enough the novel was tragic, this only adds to the tragedy of it.

Anyway, this isn’t about German nonetheless. Actually these posts got me thinking. “Life is too short” is one of the most used and abused phrases of this age. I mean just thinking that it’s almost 2014 when World Cup 2010 feels like yesterday, it makes perfect sense. A little scary actually.

And it makes me wonder about all the things we squeeze into our lives, the things that take up unnecessary space, while we push out the things that matter. I wonder if one day I’d look back at my life and regret not realizing how short it was to be afraid of anything. This all looks like a cliché but what I’m actually trying to do is this, quite literally:


A Conversation with Tubby – 9

I found him nestled above a tree, all shaggy and famished. The sound of munching leaves gave him away.

Me: Where in the world have you been? I left no stone unturned looking for you. Come on down.

Tubby: How would I know you will not hurt me?

Me: Come on now, you know we never really hurt each other

[He rolled his eyes as if trying to remember something]

Tubby: Have I never hurt you? I do remember you getting angry once or twice.

Me [sighing patiently]: You provoked me, that’s it. The only time you really hurt me was when you disappeared on me.

[He looked suspicious]

Me: Besides, I really have no energy for that. I just want to talk.

[He began his descent hesitantly]

Me: Oh my God! You look miserable. Let’s get you some clean clothes and an IV drip.

[An hour later]

Me: Now we can go for a walk, you need to stretch your legs after two weeks of crouching between branches.

Tubby: I wouldn’t mind that.

Me: And?

Tubby: And what and?

Me: Didn’t you miss me?

Tubby: Well, I guess, I was waiting for you to find me.

Me: Just waiting, to doing anything to help me find you

Tubby: You know how my mind works. In my head waiting counts as doing.

Me [sigh]: Okay, I’ll give you a pass this time considering I was the one who drove you insane. Speaking about waiting, I’m reading now this book, it’s a play actually, “waiting for Godot”

Tubby: What is “Godotte”?

Me: Not Godotte, Godot, the T is silent. It’s a French name.

Tubby: And since when do you know French?

Me: I don’t. The play was originally written in French but it’s for an Irish writer.

Tubby: Why would an Irish man write a play in French?

Me: He lived in France for a good deal of his life, what do you care? Now focus with me, I was talking about waiting.

Tubby: Okay…

Me: So it’s about two men waiting for a man called “Godot”, all the while talking about all kinds of things to the point of absurdity, like thinking about hanging themselves up just for fun.

Tubby: That is sick!

Me: Well, you’re entitled to your own opinion but I will tell you it’s one of the most acclaimed plays of the 20th century, if not the greatest of all, so your opinion is both insignificant and utterly ridiculous, with all due respect.

Tubby: What about el3eyal kebret?

Me: Will you let me get to the point?

Tubby: Okay

Me: Actually the play is considered highly philosophical and controversial. There has been a lot of speculation and deciphering trying to figure out what it means. There was this theory that waiting for Godot actually meant waiting for God. You know, sitting around helplessly while hoping for a miracle from God to change everything.

Tubby: Couldn’t they just ask him?

Me: Well, they did. He dismissed them saying: “Why does everything has to be complicated? Maybe they are just two men waiting for a man who never shows up”. And he said: “If I meant to say waiting for God, I would’ve said waiting for God”.

Tubby: The man has a point. I like him, can you introduce me to him?

Me: He’s dead, Tubby. Anyway, I do believe that he didn’t mean waiting for God but I don’t believe he was just talking about two men waiting for a third. There is a theme there, waiting for something as opposed to working towards it. Just like what you were doing up that tree. Haven’t we all done that at some point?

Tubby: just like you’re doing now.

Me: whoa, no, no, no!  I did everything in my power, there’s nothing else I can do but wait. Hence, I decided to move on to more important matters and stop waiting. Waiting is torturous.

Tubby: Maybe that’s all the author wanted to say, just that two men were waiting and it was boring.

Me: Oh please, Tubby! I mean, look at our conversations. Nobody really knows what they are about. How much more the greatest theatrical work of the 20th century.

Tubby: I’ve ever thought much about our conversations.

Me: That’s because you never had to. You know what? How about I put our conversations in a book?

Tubby: WHAT? No, no… no!

Me: Why not?

Tubby: How could you put them in a book? These are our private conversations!

Me: ummm, Tubby, you realize I blog them, right?

Tubby: I know, but how many people read your blog anyway?

Me: Hey!

Tubby: I’m just being realistic. But if you want to turn them into a movie then I’m all for that, provided Hugh Jackman plays me. They can make him look like a hundred year-old man, they did it in Les Miserables.

Me: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Just forget it, right now I really want to write some fiction, and fictional conversations, and fiction!

Tubby: And I need a nap…

The Lost Imaginary Friend

Tubby is missing.

He ran away in solidarity with another imaginary character to whom I did something really horrible. Of course the imaginary character is not imaginary but for Tubby it is, since he’s imaginary and we, real people, are imaginary to him.

Anyone who sees Tubby or his companion please tell them to check their Mail box and steer the ship back to the island.

Please advise Tubby to commit suicide because I’m thinking of creative ways to kill him. While the other not-so-imaginary friend, well, it’s time we did him justice and we owe him a big apology.

And please do not ask me why on earth I am writing this. Maybe I’m just trying to start a story because I feel like writing and I have no idea what to write about and Tubby isn’t helping.

My imagination hurts.

A Conversation with Tubby – 8

He stood at the door, cringed at the sight of me munching on my fourth carrot…


Tubby: Oh no! Carrots again, that can’t be good

Me: What? Carrots are good, very healthy

Tubby: Yes, and a good choice to avoid binge-eating when distressed

Me: I’m not depressed if that’s what you’re alluding to…

He threw me a suspicious look with the side of his eye…

Me: Okay, maybe a little. You now that feeling when you feel like there’s lava boiling in your guts? You feel like you want to shout or cry or anything but nothing comes out? If that’s what you mean then hello depression!

Tubby: *sigh* what is it now? You were fine yesterday

Me [shouting angrily]: And where on earth have you been? Leaving me prey for other imaginary jerks, how did you let me do that? You should’ve locked me inside the house and swallowed the key!

Tubby: I’m truly sorry, but if I may remind you, you threw me out the window and decided to do whatever you wanted.

Me: Can you please shut up and stop showing me how stupid I’ve been?

Tubby: Okay… now just calm down and tell me, what happened?

Me: well, I don’t know how to put it. Let’s see, imagine that you found an abandoned baby on the street, you took it home, took care of it for months and then suddenly someone showed up claiming it’s theirs and they took it away from you and left you sitting there empty-handed. And you can’t object because it is indeed their baby, they gave birth to it, but you’re the one who nurtured it until it could talk and walk…

Tubby: You know it’s been so long since I was a baby or saw one, so if you can give me another example…

Me: Okay you old grouch… suppose you spent 10 months building a lego castle, and then someone appeared and said they owned that lego and asked you to tumble it down to pieces so that they could take it away with them…

Tubby: where?

Me: to the grave… what do you care? Focus Tubby! How would you feel about that?

Tubby: I’d feel quite bad, even if it was their lego, but I built the castle

Me: Exactly. See, this is what I’m feeling now. I feel angry and empty. You can’t work on something all this time and then have it taken away from you overnight

Tubby: Could I do anything to help?

Me: Do you know any black magic?

Tubby: Whoa…

Me: Kidding. I don’t need black magic. I can feel all the negative energy and all the anger going out and reaching those people

Tubby: Baby snatching lego thieves!

Me: I really don’t know what to do…

Tubby: You just care too much, I dare say. You know what? Go get your baby back, dress him in different clothes, it will be the same baby but no one will ever recognize it…

On a second thought that sounds like kidnapping. Build the exact same lego castle, don’t change it, just switch some pieces, let them take their rotten lego and go to hell, use your own lego

Me: I’m trying to figure out a way to do that but it’s not working, I need some of their lego too

Tubby: You know if anyone is reading this I think they would be quite confused right now. What are we talking about exactly?

Me: Just forget it… I’ll just wait for apathy to settle in, and then let’s see what I’m prepared to do.

عن أشياء لا تختفي

بعض الأشياء لا تغادرنا كما نظن، ولا تذوب في الذاكرة. هي تترسب في القاع فحسب، حتى إذا ما طرأ أي اهتزاز عابر تحركت وتفرقت  لتعكر صفوك فترة ما، تطول أو تقصر، قبل ان تعود لركودها من جديد

بعض الأشياء نتعايش معها فقط، ونسلم بقدرتها بالتنغيص علينا في أي وقت


تعيش معنا، وتموت معنا، دون أن تموت بداخلنا


أو لعلها تقتلنا ببطء



إلى بعوضة

لما يزيد عن ثمانية وعشرين عاماً كنا مثالاً يحتذى به للتعايش على هذه الأرض. فبينما كنت لا أتعرض لك أو لأخواتك بأذى وأتركك تصولين وتجولين على هواك، كنت تتركينني أنام ملء جفوني، ولا تزعجينني بهرش أو طنين ولا تحاولين أخذ نصيب لك من دمي الذي أحسبك ترفعت عنه لمرارة وجدتها فيه، أو لثخونة أو ربما كرم أخلاق منك إذ أدركت أن مخزون الدم الذي لدي بالكاد يكفي للعمليات الحيوية وغيرها من التفاعلات الإنسانية الأخرى، ولا يحتمل المشاركة مع طفيلي خارجي وإلا تحولت إلى إنسانة “ما عندهاش دم” كما يقولون. أ و لعلك تأنفين البشرة السمراء لموروث جاهلي وعنصرية كامنة في نفسك، وبالتالي كان جلدي ودمي دون المستوى المطلوب، فتحيدين عني وتشبعين عطشك الدموي ممن فتح لونهم ولانت جلودهم تحت مجساتك.0

ما الذي تغير الآن؟

هل أصبح الدم المر يروق لك فجأة؟ أم هل تراها المشاهد الدموية على شاشات التلفاز هي التي فتحت شهيتك لمزيد من الدماء فنكثت ما كان بيننا من عهد؟

ذاك اليوم رأيتك تقفين على الحائط، سمينة وسوداء من شدة امتلائك بالدم. ألا تخشين أن يثقلك كل هذا الوزن يوماً فلا تستطيعين الطيران وتكون نهايتك تحت حذاء أو شبشب يجعل منك أحفورة في جدار؟

لو أن الأمر اقتصر على الطنين ما أن أطفىء النور لربما كنت سأغض الطرف وأدعك تسرحين وتمرحين، ففي النهاية كل هذه النباتات والأشجار حول البيت الجديد لا بد أن تجذب مختلف أنواع الكائنات الحية الدقيقة، ضريبة الماء والخضرة. لكن التورمات الحمراء الصغيرة الناتجة عن لدغات لا يشعر المرء بها إلا بعد فوات الأوان وما يرافقها من حكة هي ما دفعني إلى تغيير سياستي. أجل، لم تتركي لي خياراً آخر. أنا التي كنت لا أطيق رائحة “الفيب” ولا أجد له داعياً اشتريت آلة جديدة ووضعتها بقرب السرير وعلي وعلى أعدائي. نعم يا عزيزتي، أنت والشعشبون والخنافس الآن سواسية.0

صدقيني، لقد فكرت في حل آخر. حين رأيتك تقفين بأناقة على الجدار المجاور للسرير بعد أن استنفدت الوسائل للتخلص منك تنهدت وفكرت بشكل يكاد يكون جدياً، بأن أتبناك كحيوان أليف. أضع لك بعض العسل على منصة صغيرة ألصقها بالجدار، تقتاتين عليه وتتركينني بحالي. إلا أن الفكرة لم تبدُ مجدية كما أن علينا الاعتراف أنها جنونية بعض الشيء. الصداقة بين الإنسان والبعوض ضرب من الخيال، إنها علاقة تطفل وصراع أزلي، كما أنني لا آمن غدرك بعد ما رأيته منك من جشع. فكرت أيضاً في تربية خفاش، هل تعرفين أن الخفاش يمكنه التهام ألف بعوضة في ساعة واحدة؟ لكنني لا أملك خبرة طويلة في تربية الثدييات الطائرة ولا الشجاعة الكافية لاصطياد الخفاش الصغير الذي يحلق في الحارة، ومن هنا ألغيت الفكرة.0

لكنني يا غريمتي أخشى علي منك كما أخشى عليك مني، بل أكثر لأكون صادقة معك. أخشى على اتزان عقلي وسلامة تفكيري من الوقوع في شرك الأوهام ونظريات المؤامرة؛ فهجومك المباغت ما أن يجن الليل واتحادك مع عوامل الأرق الأخرى تجعلني أتصور وجود اتفاق من نوع ما بينك وبين جهة سرية من مصلحتها منعي من النوم بل والاستيقاظ مفزوعة في ساعات الليل الحالكة.0

اصدقيني القول، من أجل ما كان بيننا من تحالف فيما مضى، هل تعملين لحساب أحد؟ لست مجنونة لأظن أنك تحملين جهاز تنصت من نوع ما، لكن أيعقل أن يكون طيرانك المتثاقل ناتجاً عن حمولة زائدة من الدم فحسب؟ الأمر يستحق البحث.0

في النهاية يا عزيزتي، لا تظني هذه رسالة مقفعية تحمل من المضامين أكثر مما تظهره الكلمات، بل هي رسالة صادقة حرفية بحذافيرها بهدف التوصل إلى حل ما، وإلى ذلك الحين: الفيب عن يميني والشبشب عن يساري، والخيار لك.0

A Writer’s Schizophrenia

There’s no way I’m writing about this, it’s basically unwritable

It’s tempting, could be a good idea

Well it might not be a great idea but I don’t care, I want to get it out of my system

I’m so excited!

Ugh, I don’t know, maybe I shouldn’t go through with this

This is awesome, I’m a genius

Who’s gonna read this junk?

This might be a good thrill

I’m probably gonna be grilled but it doesn’t matter

I don’t want to do anything else but to sit down and write this

Now what?

This is even better than I thought it would be

I want to cry