Saturday, March 7, 2015

March Blues

I took the kid out to dinner tonight. It's been bitterly cold here for two months, without a single day above 0c, (most days the High has not been above -20c!) and tonight is no exception. Indeed, my phone informs me that it is presently -15c outside once one factors in the windchill. I love winter, but I'm ready for spring. Anyway, we had an otherwise uneventful meal at the sushi place and departed for the three block walk back to the car. And my Kid, this gorgeous little child, my wingman, my partner in crime, nearly broke me, shattered my sanity into 10,000 little pieces, right there.

It took us 30 minutes (thirty motherfucking minutes!) to walk the three blocks as she unhurriedly drifted from one side of the sidewalk to the next, babbled away asking me questions she already knows the answer to, fucked about with icicles, made a snow angel, petted dogs, chatted up homeless guys, stared off into space, and basically did everything EXCEPT hustle her shit up and out of this insane cold. We were in the final 200 meters to the car, and I'm like half a block ahead and behind me I hear her singing the Sponge Bob Square Pants song except she has replaced all the words with "meow". and she's just standing there in the middle of the fucking sidewalk, staring off into space, meowing Sponge Bob.  Meow, meow, meow, meow...

What the shit, Kid? Are you incapable of feeling the cold? Have you no Goddamn sense of urgency?  Are you doing this deliberately to see if you can actually kill me through passive-aggressiveness? Do you not love me, the woman who just paid 9 bucks for your shrimp tempura in order to watch you eat exactly HALF a shrimp? What? Why do you hate me?

People say to treasure this because it will all be over too soon, but for 30 minutes tonight I was seriously contemplating mailing her to my parents and running for the Canadian border.

One of the things I miss the most about blogging (aside from the amaze-balls Omani Blogging community) is the emotional nourishment and release that comes with keeping a sort of diary of rants, raves and life events. Blogging really is therapeutic.Finding myself deep in the abyss of the March blues, I figured it was time to break out the laptop, uncap the bourbon, and treat myself to some intensive therapy. For whatever follows, I apologise.

There is so much that has been going on in Oman that is worth blogging about, or that I wanted to blog about, but couldn't find the time. I miss the old blogging community and all its warts, trolls, and weirdos. I miss reading actual opinions and insight into what is REALLY going on, what people REALLY think, and what. exactly, is pissing people off this week. You know it's a sad state of affairs when the blogs only report good news and the local print media are the people writing daring shit. A lot has changed in the last 15 years.

I am glad to see the local media has grown some teeth, even if they are baby teeth. Well done chaps, now grow some Balls.

One of the issues that I think deserves a bit of rational discussion is the ban on alcohol proposal from the cesspool of genius that is the Majlis Al Shura. (what ever happened with that, BTW?) If these guys gave even half a shit about the future of the country, they would be focusing instead on the terrible schools, the entitlement culture, the carnage on the roads, the exorbitant cost of getting married, the drug trafficking and addiction issues, and the everyday welfare and wellbeing of the citizens of Oman. This optimistic wishing on my part is, I know, an exercise in futility.

For me, the core issue comes down to this: There shall be no compulsion in religion. You smarter readers know where that particular quote comes from.  One of the most beautiful things about Oman is that for the most part, everybody is legally free to practice their religion as they wish. It is not the government's job to dictate to you how to live, dress, or think, because this shit is between you and the creator and at the end of the day, He's the one that's gonna judge you, not us. And to be honest, that's a pretty fucking enlightened position for the Omani Government to take, and we should all be proud of it.

When a government starts dictating how we live, and making decisions for us that should be between us and god, that's a slippery-ass slope. I talk a lot about the trickle-down Wahabi Islam that is infecting our beautiful country and I think this is another good example. You can climb to the rooftops and scream that we are all Ibadhi, and I clearly don't understand the difference between Wahabi and Ibadhi, and you would be completely right. Nobody is saying we are practicing Wahabi Islam, but we with initiatives like the ban on alcohol, we are certainly practicing contemporary Wahabi style governance.

My dad tells stories of back in Saudi, when I was a tiny girl, and the research university used to cut off the power to all the (primitive) computers 5 times a day to enforce prayer times. Friend, if your shit wasn't saved before the power cut you were in a world of hurt. I suppose this provided some sort of added benefit in that everybody's work was (hopefully) saved 5x a day, but it certainly didn't change the behaviors of the guys who were working. It's not like the screen shut off, they lost all their work and then they were all like " hell yeah! let's go pray!" the guys who WANTED to go pray at the appointed times were already going to go do that. the guys who were not, just took a nap instead. Totally pointless.

If you don't want to drink, don't drink. If you don't want to wear an abaya, then don't wear an abaya. If you love bacon, then eat it or don't because that's between you and Allah. it is critically important that as citizens we learn to make up our own minds about what is best for us as individuals. This is a critical life skill that everybody should have. Think your shit through, then make your own decision.

I am super worried about the health of His Majesty. He's been better to us than we deserve, that's for sure.

Are you guys reading the blog Oman Coast? You should. it's really good, if not a little sparse.

How are we? we are doing well here in the states. we lost our minds and bought a 107-year old mansion. What we paid for it would make you weep tears of envy. it's awesome, but needs a total gut job to all 5 bathrooms and many other astonishingly expensive updates. At any rate, we are enjoying slowly bankrupting ourselves.

I finally decided that maybe being a jack-of-all-trades high school drop out wasn't working for me anymore, went to college and discovered that I am not actually as stupid as I thought.

I own the most amazing 1991 GMC suburban. It makes me obscenely happy.

I miss you guys. I have a business trip to Abu Dhabi in two weeks, but won't get a chance to make it home for a visit. I'm hoping we will all be back later in the year.

That, I think, concludes this therapy session. I feel better already. Hope you all are well.


Anonymous said...

I've missed your blog! Thanks for posting and letting us know you're ok. I am curious as to where you're from, are you American, Saudi or Omani? What about your husband?

I am an American who lived in Saudi for a long time, back in the US now. Hazel

Suburban said...

Hi Hazel, thank you for your kind words! I am deliberately veague as to where I'm from, and the identities of my family, but to answer your question, sort of: I hold an american passport and culturally identify as american thanks to a childhood spent in the Rockies. My husband is your standard issue white guy, with white guy interests and white guy qualities. I love him desperately. No fi er man ever walked the earth. Our kids hold 3-4 different nationalities each, which is great because it makes them more valuable when I sell them into arranged marriages.


Sythe said...

Loved that. A lot. Oh I miss your posts! A very welcome Sunday morning treat!

Enjoy the mansion and Abu Dhabi too :)

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Yeah we've had to stay pretty safe in what we write sadly. When the police text you and ask you to politely keep your blog in line... it is worrying.

Even though there is SOOOOO much crap going. An Omani girl I tried to help was improsinoned and beaten by her family to the knowledge of the female protection of the police who basically said it was her family's right to contorl her movement yada yada, the tajer ceramic scandal, the recent appeals in the bribery cases, a lot of coruption point out in Majlis A shura and people blocked from speaking etc... I am tempted to arrange a protest at the Ministry of education myself lol, for those poor teachers that were beaten by police. A lot going on and HM totally not well.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

And I know it doesn't really matter to non-muslims, but I find that using the wrong terms for religious beliefs, causes a lot of persecution and prejudice--- for example, Wahabi Islam is not what is practiced by Saudi (I should know, I practice wahabi Islam---and I believe women can work, drive, wear hot pink lipstick etc... and that Islamic law banning alcohol does not pertain to non-Muslims so a dry country is not part of shariah law). Same goes for "salafi".

Wahabi is belief against worhsipping idols. Salafi is practicing what the first three generations of Islam practiced.

Of course, people who claim to be wahabi care more about controlling non-Muslims, and killing shia than they do about their own false worship.

And people who claim to be salafi, generally think a woman's place is only in the home, and that it is better for a woman to be killed than not cover her face.

But that is not what those beliefs and teachings actually are, the way terrorism is not the Islam of the Qu'ran.

The trouble is, people will say, I am Ibadhi, I am Sunni, I am shia, and those people are Wahabi, or Salafi extermists etc... and don't even bother to learn about these beliefs and teachings in depth... Even the most basic, which, as you touched upon, there is no compulsion in religion (this teaching however, know, is for non-Muslims---Muslims who have chosen their faith do not get to choose---shariah law does guide their practice and what is lawful for them and punishments).

So the full alcohal ban, even from the strictest vanatage of Wahabi/Salalfi sunni or Ibadhi practice (and I am sorry Shia bro and sisters I dunno your strictest teachings---my farsi sucks to the point of being non-existant) is not Islamic according to shariah. The law could only ever apply to Muslims to hold it in line with Islamic practice.

Unfortunately, most Omanis do not not know their own religious (Ibadhi majority, sunni minority, fringe shia) teachings to the point to know what they should do under Islamic law. So until they can do this, there is no point making suggestions in the Shura council (who are basically a distraction for the people since anyone who brings up corruption in the minsiters' council in the shura is shushed or jailed).

Long comment, sorry, but in Islam these days, with ISIS, and all, we can't ignore real knowledge and sum teachings up with a mis-used word. Shia people get scared when I say I am wahabi and think I want to kill them. And non-Muslims think I want to stone everyone lol and force abaya and no alcohol on them. But that isn't Ibn Wahab's teachings at all. I don't like fear and ignorance, ruling Muslims these days.

I wish people would read. Reading isn't that hard for Arabs, now really. It is their language. Of all persons, Omanis and Saudis should have better understanding of their faith than me, a convert, since most of it is available in their native language. And they should read of other fractions teachings. I read about shia and Ibadhi (from their scholars) even I am sunni. How else can you hope to change people's minds?

****or I guess some people would rather have supreme control of others' literature and lives rather than the effort of perfecting and educating one's self---but trust me, that isn't wahabi. That is ignorance, laziness, and pride/fear of being wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hey Burbs!

You're not missing much in the blogosphere - that's for sure!
The venom has slowly died and the angst has been replaced with a numb sense of "Fuck it!".

Up, up and awaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Jet Driver