Tuesday, March 04, 2003
2.30AM TUESDAY 4TH MARCH 2003
OUR LADY OF THE PETROL STATION
Yesterday, Monday 3rd March, was Ash Wednesday in Lebanon.
For some reason or other – I don’t know how or why – Monday 3rd of March was Ash Wednesday in Lebanon.
But wait, it doesn’t stop there, it gets funnier – promise.
This ties in with the earlier, only in Lebanon, the land of services where the barman drives you home, anecdote.
Further proof that Lebanon is a land of services and a service-driven economy – where else in the world but Lebanon could you get the Ash Wednesday blessing (the cross daubed on your forehead), albeit on a Monday, at the petrol station by the lady at the petrol station?
True story – dad came home today with the Ash Wednesday cross (I'm sure it has a proper name – I just don’t know it) drawn on his forehead apparently having had it applied by the lady at the local petrol station (Reuters Daroun as a friend once called it in recognition of its unrivalled role in breaking and disseminating all the latest local news and gossip).
Now that’s service for you!
Would you like to upsize that cross?
In the West we're familiar with petrol station/supermarkets/what not/what have you that sell everything from petrol to newspapers and magazines, food, videos etc but none of them, no matter how comprehensive they are, to my knowledge actually do that – the Ash Wednesday blessing on your forehead!
I'm not too familiar with the rituals, rules and regulations etc governing that blessing but I am familiar with at least one other instance where a non-cleric, a "civilian" if you will, has applied that.
I also don’t know how legitimate or legal that is or whether it will "work" or not but at least that’s a precedent that I know of for a civilian doing that but, nonetheless, the lady at the petrol station doing that is taking it a bit too far I think.
Sounds like something you'd get in Los Angeles – a drive-thru Ash Wednesday blessing.
More "only in Lebanon" - this illustrates the multi-cultural, multi-confessional aspect of Lebanon as well as the more easygoing, casual way of doing things already expounded upon here - mum, a Muslim, then proceeded to take some of the ash off dads forehead and do the sign of the cross on my forehead with it!
A kind of secondary, secondhand blessing – literally second-hand smoke or second-hand ash, passive smoking, passive ashing.