// Patrick Louis

On My Way

Hello fellow readers,
In this post I’ll depict the most memorable events that happened on my way to work.

It’s a strange world.

My commute to work is long in distance and in time. Everyday I travel half the country using public transportations. Walking mountains, jumping from one vehicle to another, fighting con men, getting lost, avoiding loss of consciousness due to traffic pollution, etc..

It’s tiresome but rewarding in knowledge and experiences. Meeting so many strangers unlocks the cozy doors of the mind and let the cold truth in. It’s a necessity for anyone that wants to be able to manage a group.

There’s a fine distinction between the apathetic zombies moving like bumper cars driven by the impulse of external stimuli and the ones struggling with drastic life changes and decisions. My commute confirmed this by multiple folds.

I’m soon going to buy my first car and I don’t want to become blind.

One of my eccentric friend told me:

When you get a car you become a horrible person. You don’t care about others, you just want to pass through.

There’s something worse than being a horrible person and it’s being a mushy flexible piece of meat without personality. I’ve talked about this in a post analysing social changes in 2015. Seeing those slaves, puppets, and weak pieces of wool disgusts me. The difference between their phony cocoons and reality angers me.

I can’t stand the hypocrisy of those boys. They spend their time looking down on their cellphones, they do not stand for themselves, they talk with soft voices to avoid coercion, they do whatever you tell them to do.

On the other hand you have those with rough hands, those tired by long days of work but that still walk with their heads high, not loosing their precious self-esteem. The guys you want to build a better day with. They smile and move on because they are the ROCKS AND STEEL TO BUILD WITH, they have people counting on them! I wouldn’t count on Mr.Shy-Average-Dude.

I’m afraid of suddenly feeling comfortable and falling into the other category.
Let this post be a reminder.

I had in front of me a happy man, a man which the deepest dream had taken form in the most evident way, a man which had accomplish all the goals he had set himself to reach, obtained all that he desired, satisfied of his destiny and of himself. Already, in the past, when I thought of human happiness, there always was, I have no idea why, some kind of sad feeling; but now, in the sight of that happy man, I felt invaded by this annoying feeling, close to despair…I thought: Overall, there’s a great amount of people that are content, happy! It’s an overwhelming force! You all should look at life: You insolent fools, ignorant and weak beasts, just a suffocated intolerable misery, just a degeneration, a drunk hypocrisy, an eternal lie…And on the side of that , inside every house, on the streets, it’s silent, it’s calm. Among the fifty thousands residents of this city none suddenly raise a shout as an alarm, a shout of revolt. We see all those that go get their groceries to the supermarket and eat during the day, sleep the night; those who tell dumb stories, those who get married, get old, and placidly drift their dead to the cemetery. But we don’t see, nor hear those who suffer, and all that frighten us in life is puked somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is calm, peaceful, only the silent statistics protest: this amount of men have gone crazy, this amount of vodka has been drank, this amount of kids died of starving. And this order of things is apparently necessary; Apparently, the happy man only feels good because the unhappy ones lift their weight alone in silence, and without that silence, the happiness wouldn’t be possible. It’s a global brainwash. There should be behind the door of every satisfied and happy man another man armed with a hammer that would hit him to remind him constantly that the unfortunates exist, that if he’s happy now life will strike him sooner or later with grief, sickness, poverty , death, and at that moment no one will hear his cries of despair, just like he doesn’t hear nor see anyone. But the man with the hammer doesn’t exist, the happy man lives and his little wannabe everyday worries slightly frighten him, like the wind make the leaves of the aspen shiver. And everything continues just like it’s always been.

I’ve experienced much more than what is mentioned in this post but I’ll keep it to what I can remember and only to what happened on the commute, on my way.

Without further ado.

The People Who Thought They Knew Me

People are kind, the majority of them are blunt but would still help if you asked them (to not look bad in social situations. If you don’t ask they’ll probably let you die on the street).

Apart from those there are the deeply and innerly kindhearted persons. Those that want to do good deeds to make this piece of dirt a pleasant place for humankind to live in.

I hitchhike a lot and I’m not shy about it. I get to have a free ride, a conversation with a stranger that might turn interesting, and an adventure.

I don’t think there are risks on my part. What’s the worse that could happen to a 22yo mature man that carries no more than 50LBP ($30). There are more risks on the drivers.

A recurrent subject that is brought is that the person thought they knew me.

I’ve had those that swore they’ve seen me on TV, those that saw me play in a band, those that saw me somewhere before in an exotic place, those that thought I was an actor or a celebrity, those that saw me in their dreams, etc.. I’ve had from all the recipes.

Do I have a recognizable face? That would explain a lot…

There’s a theory on kinship. IBD and IBS, Identity by descendant and state. It says that we tend to trust and help people that have similar attributes to ours. The more the ressemblance the more we’ll be inclined to help. This applies to family members too.

When they are afraid or find themselves in hard situations they become more selfish. We have ton of selfish and afraid persons.

There are exceptions where the persons did, indeed, know me.

I’ve was going back home in bus with a driver I thought was insane. He was singing out loud in an annoying manner and giving compliments to pretty girls.

Almost at the end of my road we were two passengers in the bus, a woman and I. I moved to the front and the driver opened a discussion. He bragged about his big knowledge of the people in Batroun, the region I live in, he affirmed knowing everyone. Apparently, he was from the place.

After the series of interrogation questions about who I was, he asked about my father and, surprisingly, knew everyone in my family and our story. What a peculiar man, he wasn’t just talk, he knew everyone…and in details!

Just the other day when I was going up from Daoura to Mansouriyeh, the bus stops at Daoura and I have to take a cab to work from there, something similar happened.

As usual, I got out of the bus and fought to find a cheap taxi to take me up in the mountain. I hopped in the first one that accepted my price and here I go.

We had small talks about the country and the weather and suddenly he brought it.

Your face is familiar. I think I’ve seen you somewhere. You’re coming from far aren’t you?

That’s astonishing! Do human have the ability to see what others have experienced when staring in their eyes. To tell if someone comes from far? (The Social Function Of Intellect or a sort of inference in social situation)

I told him that I came from Batroun everyday and he replied with:

Batroun or near Batroun?

I come from a village in the mountains called Ebrine. He hit me back with “I’m from Rachkida!”, which is the neighbor village less than 2km away from Ebrine. To meet him at such a distance from our towns, the world is small.

I like the people from Rachkida, they are kind. Rachkida is the only Muslim village of the region. I hitchhiked with more people from Rachkida than from my own village. Their isolation might have something to do with their generous mindset.

NB: I wasn’t born in Batroun, I was born in Quebec, Canada. So you can discard the IBS and IBD theory.

The Mini Stories And Tips

This section is a big thanks to all the life tips I’ve got from the conversations with strangers and taxi drivers.

Thanks for the relationship advices, for the wedding advices, for the advices on how to deal with miscreants, for the advices on how to save money, for the advices on things to avoid, for the family and kids advices, etc..

I can’t remember them all but they are anchored in me.

Reading and experience train your model of the world. And even if you forget the experience or what you read, its effect on your model of the world persists. Your mind is like a compiled program you’ve lost the source of. It works, but you don’t know why.

The Stressed Out Alpha Dude

A while back I used to wait for a coworker at “Dunkin Donuts” so that we could travel together to the office.

I did that for a whole month.

I got accustomed to the personnel and the daily customers. I spent around a hour and half waiting there reading books while sipping tea and infusions. As time passed I could overhear conversations and learn about the lives of other customers. Mostly, they were teachers at LAU, a university in the Byblos region.

In their group was an alpha dude with the brand new car and Ray Ban sunglasses. He talked vividly and sometimes read newspapers.

That day he was curious and I overheard him talk about me with his fellows. I looked fiercely and he asked by what name I went by.

Patrick Louis

Let’s note that my name isn’t common and I’ve noticed it makes some persons uncomfortable. Furthermore, my accent isn’t local which adds to the equation.

He looked mesmerized. I savored the moment of a wolf falling. He tried inserting other questions that I couldn’t hear properly so I asked him to repeat.

I got up from my chair, I was far, and sat next to him so we could chat.

He was stressed out and I could clearly see it. We had a chat about what I do in life. I could see his hand trembling.

When I had enough of his pitiful sight I got back to my place and continued my reading.

It’s not the first time that this happens, it’s frequent. I make some persons uncomfortable, I make them stress. I don’t do it on purpose even though I enjoy people loosing themselves to fear when, on the other hand, I am composed and in control. It might be due to my self-confidence and how stoic I am.

The Bearded Guys and The Lighthouse Play

I used to not go out late because I don’t have a car. I thought it would be too much of a hassle to get back home.

Since I started working I got over it. I go wherever I want at whatever time I want, even in the middle of the night.

That day I was back from a hangout with friends at around 3am. There are still min-van, public transport, passing at those late hours but they are scarce or completely filled and can’t stop to take more passengers.

I was tired and had been waiting for 20min when another dude come to wait with me. 30min later another one come wait with us.

We were three dudes waiting on the highway.

One of the guys decide that we should take turn and use the flashlight to catch the attention of the mini-vans. Thus, we took 3 turns of 30min and finally found someone to take us home.

Playing lantern on the highway was long but brotherhood was strong.

When I get home from hangouts in the middle of the night I call a taxi to take me from Batroun to my village, Ebrine.

One of these days I called the company’s office and they told me that no cab was available for at least an hour. I had no other options but to wait.

Tired, I sat down and waited.

That day I still had that 3 months beard, one of those huge kickass Unix beard. I like the beard, people don’t mess with you when you have the beard.

Fifteen minutes of waiting and a couple of two big bearded guys stop and ask where I was going. I told them and they make sign that they’re going there.

It’s 1:30am, and I’m driving with 2 huge bearded guys.

They were a bunch of cool dudes coming back from a night in town. We talked a bit and they told me they were from Rachkida, they offered to take me a bit further but I refused.

Three bearded dudes in a car…That was something.

Huge Truck Ride

I’m excellent at time management. I calculate how much time it’ll take me to get from one place to another, I got my schedule on track.

However, that day I had to meet friends at 1pm and there was no one to take me down from my village. I thought I wouldn’t make it but didn’t give up.

Sundays are parade days in Lebanon. The typical hypocrite Lebanese peacock around in their fancy cars, wash them, make them shine. It’s annoying because they don’t drive the same cars during the week, they leave them at home or with their wives. They bought it to make them look like someone they are not.

The bigger the car the bigger the asshole. I’ve also noticed that during the week in 95% of the cases the big cars, like jeeps, are always driven by females.

They have the car of the year and a house as big as a matchbox.

They’re laughable, they’re full of shit. I despise them, not because they are wasting money but because of their blindness.

So, I was there waiting to hitchhike. In front of me, in plain sight, was the gas station full of car getting washed or parked there for display.

A gas truck was refilling the station.

All of a sudden, a taxi coming from Batroun drops someone a bit further down the road. When he gets back I stop him and ask if he could take me to the highway.

He argued that because he was working for an office he could only drive people that orders them by calling the office. I replied that he was going down anyway and that would only make him extra bucks. He was stubborn and didn’t want to. I told him to get the fuck off and to go alone down the mountain.

The truck driver that just finished filling the station raised his hand and made a sign that he would take me.

It was one of those giant vehicle, a monster. I climbed up the ladder and sat in the impressive chair. We talked about the stupid taxi and I asked about his job and truck.

I learned interesting things. It’s a sweet piece of machinery, as big as a house. There’s a bed, a heater, a wardrobe, etc..

I climbed down and took a bus to the place where my friends were supposed to be waiting.

I was on time.

That day the girls were late by 2 hours. Punctuality is a quality and forgiveness an even better one.

The Copy Man and The Good Men

There are mornings when I wait to go down from my village and some people offer longer hitchhikes because we’re going on the same road.

Amongst them was my neighbor, Waked, which I had no idea was my neighbor until that day. He’s an army and a family man currently building his house near mine. He lives in it even though it’s only half done. The dude works his ass off for his family.

Amongst them was another family man from Rachkida that was taking his little girl to a private school in the capital because he wasn’t found of the institutions in the region.

Amongst them were many others but a specific one caught my attention, a fabulous man named Aatef.

Aatef was another one of those that thought they knew me but that time I also thought I knew him.

I obviously saw that it wasn’t the same person but the resemblance was impressive. They had the same slow pronunciation, the same difficulties with particular syllables, the same look on their faces. He was a clone.

It might just be a cliché, all family guys look like that.

We talked a lot. On weekends he plays cards with friends in Tripoli, he takes care of his baby girl and his wife, he works at a company that deals with foreign engineers. We talked about how tiresome it is to travel to the capital everyday.

I wished him a pleasant day and moved on. But it wasn’t the last time I saw him.

About 3 weeks later I was waiting to hitchhike my way back home from Batroun to Ebrine when someone stopped me, it was Aatef.

I asked him about his friends, his daughter, how the card games went, and told him I was soon gonna buy my first car. He was genuinely happy for me and we argued about what were the best choices. He stopped to buy medicine for the baby and when he came back he gave me life advices about family and kids.

A great man taking care of his family and of others.

That day he drove me to the front of my house because he said I shouldn’t have to walk anymore, that I deserved the car.

Awesome person!

NB:He was from Rachkida.

Bungee Jumping

A sloppy usual morning in the bus I was listening to music. I removed the ear buds to hear what the driver was angry about. He was asking to wake up a kid in the back. We do so and ask where he wants to be dropped off.

Jbeil, Jbeil

We pass past Jbeil and the discontent driver told us to bring the kid to the front, to wake him up. We do so, the kid looked angry and didn’t want to sit in the front.

Drop me in Jounieh, Jounieh…

And he stumbled back to the end of the bus. Past Jounieh the driver loosed his nerves, “Where’s the kid?”, “Make him sit next to me so I know where he wants to go”, “Who leaves kids alone in a bus”.

At that exact moment the kid opens the window, climbs out of the bus, and jumps on the highway. The bus driver instantly hits the brakes.

He gets out and shout at the kid for doing stupidities.

Back in he explains that this kid was an errand, going around not knowing what he was doing. That kid came from the poorest place in Tripoli, a harsh place.

When you are a kid left alone you become a beast.

We should give everything to our kids. Education is a must.

The Woman With The Trauma

The sun was strong that day, I was waiting in the breeze of the shadow to get down from the village.

I saw the figure of an old crooked woman approaching and had the goosebumps. She took place in the shadow of the tree next to me.

I politely said hello and she waved back.

A mini-truck passed by and stopped for me. He said to ask the woman if she wanted to join. I got up first and helped her climb.

It turned out that the driver and her knew each others. They opened with the typical talk about their lives, which people usually lie about.

I listened carefully.

The man then asked a question that changed the look on her face.

Didn’t you have a place that sell tires. I think I used to go there.

She got pale.

She explained that her place wasn’t a place anymore. She was too kind and it brought bad luck. Her place was in a region where there was a good amount of Syrian refugees.

These days we have a lot of Syrian kids without parents and no one to take care of them. She took it upon herself to give them shelter in her little tire spot.

One day she woke up to the smell of smoke. The kids started a fire and burned her workplace to ashes!

Since that day she developed post-traumatic behaviors towards Syrians. She turned wary of who she was dealing with but still believed that there are people with positive intentions.

Then she gently tapped on my leg and told me:

But you, you’re a good one!

Ma’am, but but but, wait a bit, let me explain, I’m not Syrian!

She thought that, because of my accent, I was Syrian. That’s why I felt a tension when she walked towards me.

I explained to her who I was.

I helped her get off and she added:

If you see me one day and I look angry or weird it’s because I’m taking pills for anger and stress management.

Look At the Mirror

I was walking down the road from my office to the first intersection where I can take a taxi, a 30 min walk, when a superb car of the year opens its window.

There are only two buildings that this guy could have come from, the ESIB university, the university of engineering, or the Waves resort, a place to relax with pools and restaurants.

Strangely, it was the first time that someone offered me a ride on this road.

He was wearing a pair of black sunglasses in a car with black tinted windows.

We had the typical talk about what I do in life but I didn’t ask about his.

All of a sudden, he asked how old I was; 22; and directly followed with “You are 22 now, Patrick, can I ask you a question?”. I said “shoot me, I’m ready”.

He started a monologue about what I see in the mirror. I couldn’t really grasp all he was trying to say because I’m not very fluent in Arabic. I just told him that I didn’t know what he meant by “looking in the mirror”. He continued blabbering the same non-sense and I asked, again, what he meant by that. It was a philosophical talk.

Finally, to shut him up, I replied: “In a mirror you can see your body, the body is the reflection of the mind”.

He took his eyes off the road, took off the sunglasses, and looked at me. I could feel he was lost.

He dropped me at my intersection. I tried opening the door but it was too close to the sideway and I didn’t want to scratch his fabulous car. He moved forward a bit, I said thanks and left.

I saw him taking the roundabout and, out of nowhere, a Peugeot smashed into the lateral part of his car.

A shocking sight!

I stood there for a while to see if he needed help but he didn’t notice. In the other car were three girls, fortunately, safe and sound. He got out, walked a bit, and then got back into his car.

I really thought he was a psycho and would get a baseball bat for revenge but he got his sunglasses instead.

I waved and said “When you pass the roundabout you should look in the mirror and out of the window to see if there are cars in your dead angle!”.

“You moron!”

You Are Not My Dad

In the after work hours, I was in a taxi going to Daoura so I could take the bus. We were four, the driver which was an old man, a middle-aged man sitting in the front, a teenager, and me.

The driver was at an intersection and asked the young man if he preferred taking the road above the bridge or the one under. We took the bridge and the teenager left.

The man in the front looked furious and focused his rage against the driver.

You think that because you’re a taxi driver you know everything. You think you can abuse us. You think we don’t know our way around. You knew the way to the place where the kid wanted to be dropped off but you still took the bridge.

The driver confused:

But I asked when I was at that intersection.

And the rage continued:

No, shut up! You’re a scum, you think I don’t know your little games. It’s people like you that are ruining the country. You’re an Armenian! I can see it from the way you move your hands like a thief.

At that moment I shouted “Come on guys, calm down!” but without any success.

The old man was perplexed, he and I had no idea what that man meant. He just assumed things and insulted a whole ethnic group. He was deranged.

Brother, I was born in this city, “Bourj Hammoud”, my family lived there since forever.

MORE RAGE:

NO, I know who you are, you dumb. Now you shut up and you drive. (sshhhh)

He made the movement with his hand as if he was talking to a misbehaved child. The driver told him to get off, that he didn’t want to be insulted in his car.

(Shhh) I don’t want to hear anything more from you. Now drive and shut up.

The driver:

What the heck did I do in my life. I’m trying to get away from troubles and people bring troubles to me.

Two guys in another car next to us told them to relax.

It was still tense.

After the man left the old man told me that he was angry because he asked for 3LBP($2) instead of 2LBP($1.3). He came from far so it was a fair price.

Damn, I couldn’t believe it, and old man being shout at as if he was a little child.

African Beauty

In a taxi with an unusually happy driver. He offered to take me further down the road because it was on his way, but said he had to take an African women in town.

She hopped in and start chatting.

She could barely pronounce the words and put sentences together.

The madam want hummm “FUSH”, yes “FISH”, but me don’t know, don’t know where is fish. At time now is there FUSH?

The stores were closed at this hour. The driver asked her if work was good these days.

Many madam, many. But miss FISH crazzzy!

The driver looked at her and asked again but this time while hitting his fist in his palm.

hmmm, work work (as she is doing the same movement)

He asked at what time she would finish that night.

Me don’t know, many work. Maybe Maybe 1am

He said that he couldn’t see her at that time, he had to sleep at 10pm.

OK OK, there at 10, I wait and …(and she does the same movement as before)

That obviously was a prostitute. I’m not surprised but I feel that it’s disgraceful to shame a woman that can barely speak your own tongue, a woman you can’t communicate with. Where’s the pleasure?

Look At Those Bags

A happy taxi driver:

Damn, damn, damn, people, you won’t believe what happened today. I stopped for that man with two bags and opened the trunk to let him put them in. I drive him to the place, open the trunk so he could take the bags back. During the day one of the passenger told me that he could smell something bad. I said “wait wait wait, let me verify something. I hope that’s not it”. I opened the trunk, the two bags were still there. It was two fucking garbage bags. People don’t know how to get rid of their garbages anymore, they find ingenious fucking annoying way.

There’s a garbage crisis in Lebanon. The main dump is filled and the corrupted politicians don’t know how to handle it. The garbages are just pilling up.

It’s been a month and the population is starting to revolt.

For more information you can read Elie Fares’ blog:

Taxi Driver, Software Dev, Or Delusional

Another day, when I was going to Daoura in taxi.

One minute driving and he said “Want to have some entertainment on the road and read something interesting?” while handing me a paper in Arabic.

I excused myself because I can’t read Arabic and asked about what was written.

He told me stuffs I couldn’t understand clearly, another one of those philosophical dude.

Everything in life is like a grain. Our souls are contained in grains. We need to take care of nature and nourish the earth, the soil should be fertile.

But nowadays we don’t do that we need to go back to our roots. Everything will be cleaned out, you’ll see.

That made sense, so I agreed. Another passenger got in.

He told him the same thing and handed over a paper then continued his talk.

He suddenly said that he used to be a software developer in Frankford, the guy in the back said that he also worked as a developer, and I said “That makes three of us”.

He mumbled what he could remember from that time, a bunch of blurred memories.

I asked why he left his job and he said it was because time change, you can’t always be up-to-date.

He continued to mumble his non-sense and I could feel his delusion.

He said “I’ve put everything on that paper” while pointing to his head.

From what I heard he was trying to predict the future, but he wasn’t a futurist.

I got a bit worried, do all people working in the tech field become crazy like him. Some professions have tendencies to make you more delusional than others, software engineering, neurology, and maths. (Alain)

There’s also the fact that there currently are a lot of problems in the country and some types of people don’t cope well with it. I’m seeing more and more of those these days.

It’s a time where revolution builds up.

I was also worried about his driving skills, which he commented was necessary in our country, while comparing it to Frankford.

I left and kept the paper.

Back home I asked my brother to do the translation.

He told me it was some sort of delusional pantheist sect and sentences that didn’t make sense.

There was a number at the end of the paper with a note:

Call me so I can show you the face of God.

Three Guys one kid

Three poor Syrians in a car stopped me, a car that was almost falling to pieces.

They also had a kid with them.

I couldn’t get anything of what they were saying because of their strong accent.

One thing surprised me.

The kid called everyone daddy and everyone was happy with the kid.

One of the guy even said “It was finally time we got a kid for ourselves”.

Three poor guys putting all their efforts to take care of a single kid. That’s way better than letting your kid on the road to jump from buses.

Conclusion

I was walking around, just a face in the crowd

Trying to keep myself out of the rain

Saw a vagabond king wear a Styrofoam crown

Wondered if I might end up the same

There’s a man out on the corner

Singing old songs about change

Everybody’s got their cross to bare, these days

She came looking for some shelter with a suitcase full of dreams

To a motel room on the boulevard

I guess she’s trying to be James Dean

She’s seen all the disciples and all the wanna be’s

No one wants to be themselves these days

Still there’s nothing to hold on to but these days

These days the stars seem out of reach

These days there ain’t a ladder on the streets

Oh no, no, no

These days are fast, nothing lasts in this graceless age

There ain’t nobody left but us these days

Jimmy shoes busted both his legs, trying to learn to fly

From a second story window, he just jumped and closed his eyes

His momma said he was crazy, he said “Momma, I’ve got to try

Don’t you know that all my heroes died

And I guess, I’d rather die than fa-fa-fade away, yeah”

These days the stars seem out of reach, yeah

But these days there ain’t a ladder on the streets

Oh no, no, no

These days are fast, love don’t lasts in this graceless age

Even innocence has caught the midnight train

And there ain’t nobody left but us these days

I know Rome’s still burning

Though the times have changed

This world kept turning round and round and round and round

These days

These days the stars seem out of reach, yeah

But these days there ain’t a ladder on these streets

Oh no, no, no

These days are fast, love don’t lasts in this graceless age

Even innocence has caught the midnight train

And there ain’t nobody left but us these days

These days the stars seem out of reach, yeah

These days there ain’t a ladder on these streets

Oh no, no, no

These days are fast, nothing lasts

There ain’t no time to waste

There ain’t nobody left to take the blame

Oh no, no, no

Oh no, no, no, these days

There ain’t nobody left but us these days

If you like what you read contact me and we’ll have a beer!




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