I'm sleepless in Beirut.
I'm at the airport. Hugg called me earlier on, when I was still home. When I told him I'd be taking a cab, he sounded disappointed, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I wanted you to take me, but you're so far away. I shied away from asking you…"
"You're going all alone?"
"Yes. I'm used to it, I always do."
"I'd come right now, but I am not sleeping home, I can't leave now. I wish you had told me fifteen minutes ago."
So much for complaining that he didn't offer to give me a lift. I feel bad now.
He had a rough day, he told me. He was tired; he had to give up the apartment because the girl he was taking it from cheated him. Bitch.
He sounded so down, I really felt for him. I do care about him, I do. I hope he can channel all these frustrations into his work. Times like these can be very inspiring.
The drive to the airport was pleasant. I was running a little late, as usual. My fear of missing my flight was rather concrete: it wouldn't be my first time.
The cab driver was young and I was in my cheeky mood. We hit it off right away. I guessed his age and even his name. But then again, who isn't named Elie in this country?
I was showered with subtle compliments. He didn't get many clients like me, he sighed.
I love striking up conversations with strangers, especially with people who think I wouldn't give them the time of day because of my name, my looks, my clothes, my address… I really want to fight the stereotype of the pretty girl who looks down on anyone who can't afford to pamper her and tickle every single one of her fancies.
We spoke about relationships. He confessed that he didn't want to get married unless the girl was someone really special, someone he would want to see daily. He didn't have his bar up too high: someone presentable, with a cute face, cute eyes, cute lips, who was attractive, but without silicon breasts, lips or whatever, who took care of her hands and feet (because it was the first place he'd look) and who wasn't stupid. He asked me why the girls of nowadays were.
"Because the pretty ones think it will suffice to be pretty?"
"No, because they think they are smart, while that might not always be the case."
I encouraged that train of thought, "Smart is a person who knows he doesn't know anything".
He told me that I should go for a guy who was generous.
"Even if he doesn't have, he will make sure you have."
My father had once spoken along those same lines, "Miserliness in a man is unacceptable".
When we got to the airport, he refused to charge me the fare.
"I didn't even feel the drive"
I shook his hand (he had a firm grip, I really hate it when people hand me a cold, limp hand), told him it was very nice meeting him, smiled and walked away.
Hugg tells me I'm too nice, that I need an attitude. Fine, he's not wrong, but I think this time, I was the right amount of nice and the right amount of cheeky. I should master the art of the golden middle!
There is nothing uglier than arrogance, no matter who the fuck you are and especially, who the fuck you think you are. You might dine at Table d'Alfred and they at the saj place around the corner, but your shit floats side by side theirs in the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean Sea.
So I smile, I try to be nice, for fear of appearing arrogant.