Adventures on Beirut Sidewalks

I gave my ankle a really good sprain late Thursday morning, causing it to swell worse than Octomom in her third trimester.

(That may be a slight exaggeration. But my ankle did a pretty damn good imitation).

I had stepped off a sidewalk that I’ve been on a thousand times before. For some reason, my brain had chosen that moment to sorely miscalculate the height of the curb, and I executed a near-perfect loss of balance. I landed full force on the side of my right foot, stumbling so hard I would have fallen on my face if I hadn’t managed to catch myself on one hand. Even though I easily sprung back to my feet, it didn’t take more than a second for the dull and empowering pain to grip my entire ankle. My first thought was a very eloquent, “Oh crap. Something’s wrong”.

But because Denial is a talent of mine, I quickly tried to reason it out. And by “Reason it out” I mean, “Use BS excuses to conveniently continue like nothing happened”:

“Owww! Wait, maybe this pain is just shock. I’ll walk it off and it’ll be like nothing happened. It can’t be that serious. My pain tolerance sucks, so obviously this is nothing to worry about. GAH, friggin’ hell this hurts! Screw it. If I can put weight on it, I’m good to go.” 

Throughout this genius line of thinking, I was leaning against a parked car and holding an “Are you okay?” conversation with a fellow English Language major and classmate. (She had coincidentally been there at the exact moment I had nearly acquainted my face with the asphalt). B.B was, unsurprisingly, worried because not only did she witness my fabulous display of grace, but my thoughts and feelings were painted on my face in huge brush strokes. (Stoic isn’t a term anyone would use to describe me).

Also, no one who is constantly keeping one foot gingerly held in the air is going to fool anyone into thinking they’re doing that just for fun.

She stayed with me for a few minutes as we tried to figure out how bad it was. I didn’t even try to take a look at it, opting to save the visual assessment for when I had a place to at least sit comfortably. (I was on my way to the AUB art gallery for a shift. It wasn’t far, and I knew there was a quiet place and a soft roomy chair for me to use for when the time came).

B.B advised me to walk on my foot a little to see if it would bear my weight. Happy that she was around to help, but realizing she may have places to be, I asked her if she was headed anywhere. She said, “Yeah, I have class but I don’t have to be there…”, which was just really awesome of her. But I didn’t want to be a burden if I didn’t have to, so as I was about to take my hand off the hood of the SUV I was leaning on, I glanced inside.

There was a young man sitting in there the entire time.

I mean…the entire time. He saw me fall, get up, limp a little, use his car as a crutch and vocally assess the damage.

He stayed in his car and just watched.

The moment I saw him, I immediately took a step back in surprise and apologized. (Because apparently I fell in front of his car on purpose? I’m weirdly sensitive to all the wrong things). He wasn’t reacting negatively to me at all, and even gave me the “Oh it’s fine!” gesture when he saw my awkward reaction.

It didn’t dawn on me until later that he saw everything and didn’t even deign to at least roll down the window and ask me if I was okay, or if I needed help.

The more rational part of me chalks that up to him seeing that B.B was there and figuring he didn’t have to do anything since someone was obviously checking on me. But still, man, was that an AFV pratfall moment to you?

What was more hilarious-in-a-weird-way was what happened next. I realized I could walk on my foot okay, and figured I could make it to the gallery. B.B wished me good luck and went to class while I continued up the road. My first few steps were very uncomfortable, and I found myself limping visibly before I could find a less stressful walking rhythm.

A man, who had been chilling outside a store nearby, saw me and called out loudly, “Why are you limping?!” to which another man immediately replied, “I don’t know!”

First, he was asking me, not you dude. And secondly, why the hell else would I be limping? Oh it’s just a limpin’ kinda day, you know. Something about this street inspires the excited limper in me. Ain’t nothin’ like a good hobble to get your heart rate going, ya feel?

I fell, you moron. Also, thanks for the sympathy, I guess?

Anyways, I went to work (where, upon inspection, I noticed I was growing what looked like the beginnings of a lovely tumor) and my classes the rest of the day. Before anyone bites my head off, I’ll have you know that if it was an earlier time in the semester, I would have skipped. Three weeks away from finals though? There was no way.

Unfortunately, the pain was only worsening as the day went on, but I didn’t take another look at it until I got home. I understand that it was quite dumb of me not to go to the ER, but despite the pain and stiffness, I was convinced that it was just a sprain. Nothing elevation and an ice pack won’t fix. Why wait in the ER for potentially hours for a doctor to tell me what I was pretty sure I already knew?

Five hours later, I had peeled off my sneaker and sock and was met with a slightly discolored ankle that had gone from “weird little tumor” to “carrying twins, and due any day now”.

My mother was not too pleased with my decisions that day. Nor was she pleased with the malformed limb I was calling a foot.

I went to the ER on Friday to “make sure” that it was just a sprain.

Thankfully, it was.

Moral of the story: Don’t be flippant when a part of your body is starting to Hulk out. Also: Random Lebanese passersby/onlookers are probably not the most useful bunch to have around when you’re in pain.

A Perfect Excuse for Forced Hermitry

Yesterday, a friend of mine opened up about something repulsive that happened to her during a routine cab ride in broad daylight. I’m not only completely skeeved out and angry that it ever happened, but it’s yet another reason for my eternal question: What in God’s name is wrong with some people?!

On the day in question she had, like thousands of others before her, hopped into a taxi with a friend. As usual, they went for the cheap cab (an absolute staple in every student’s life) and it wasn’t long before they had another passenger sharing the ride. Specifically, a cop–known here as darak–who plunked himself comfortably in the front seat. 

It was supposed to be nothing more or less than a normal, if not mundane, journey. That is until the darak pulled out his phone and, with calculated deliberation, began playing through his video gallery.

And not just any old vids.

They were full-out porn clips. Perhaps unsurprisingly at this juncture, he was making absolutely no attempt to hide what he was doing.

The worst of it was the fact he went so far as to stick the screen prominently between his seat and the driver’s, to give a generous view of the show to the girls. Because it was meant for them.

The driver said and did absolutely nothing the entire time.

My friend was dumbstruck, while her friend burst out laughing out of sheer nervousness.

She told us she had no idea what to do. She was overcome with disgust and shock but had no clue if she should yell at the darak, or ignore it, or make a scene, or what. In the end, they managed to get out of the cab and didn’t say a word to the scumbag.

He wore the uniform that meant he was supposed to protect girls like them from harm, and instead he was the one to dish it out with deliberate glee and abandon.

We told her she did the right thing by not reacting to his twisted game, and getting out of the cab as soon as she was able to do it. But for a long time she felt weird and shaken because of what happened. And who can blame her? Being sexually harassed and not being able to do anything about it is a jagged pill to swallow. You walk around with a torn safety bubble, and you have only your friends and family to vent to, and no one to make things right.

Do people still want to know why we need feminism?

Because of this kind of crap. A cop was able to get his rocks off in the middle of the day by traumatizing a couple of girls he didn’t even know, and could do it again–and worse–if he felt like it. Who’s going to report him? Nothing will happen, and his accuser would be under far more scrutiny than he’d ever be.

I hope he gets his head stuck in a garbage disposal. Twice.