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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Thursday, October 30, 2003  
    - dog chased out of Paradise (Buildings) by people who think they own them

    Where dogs chase people in theory anyway because Sandy is a peaceful friendly dog who wants to live on a FUCKING PUBLIC STREET where she can be around people – befriending and protecting them.
    Not be chased by people (a reversal of the natural order) who think they FUCKING OWN THE STREET AND THE BUILDINGS ON IT!
    My relocating Sandy to the North is not an acknowledgment or recognition of their self-styled fiefdom but a civic action (I don’t own the street or the buildings either so I’m not going to impose a dog on the neighbourhood if there isn’t total consensus) and also in her interest - to protect her from what these people euphemistically call “taking her somewhere else”.
    By the way, I didn’t impose her on anybody – she’s not my dog and I didn’t actually bring her here.
    She came here, wasn’t causing any harm so I and the good people of this neighbourhood reciprocated her affection and friendship.
    Rather then throwing away our food scraps and leftovers we feed them to her (which is also environmentally friendly).
    She chases their children playfully,sees them off to school in the morning and meets the school bus and welcomes them home in the afternoon,follows and accompanies any of them walking in the forest or anywhere for that matter.
    She is our communal dog and gives the buildings a much needed community atmosphere and is so diplomatic that everybody thinks she's their dog - i.e. I think she's my dog, my cousins think she's their dog, the Sri Lankan thinks she's her dog, the manouchie man thinks she's his dog and the policeman thinks she's his dog (these are just the ones I know about!).
    And she is my dog and she is their dog and she'd everybodys dog - just like the eponymous Kim in Rudyard Kiplings novel she is "the friend of all the world".
    We're all Sandynistas - El Commandanta Sandy has sparked off a peasants rebelion in these buildings.

    Recently in the middle of the night I espied her from my balcony chasing a much smaller housedog who appeared to be enjoying it’s all too brief escape from its cloistered domesticity.
    What did she do when she caught it?
    She played with it and they went off exploring the road works (“they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” but that’s a another story).
    I’m not an animal liberationist but I just believe that a harmless domesticated dog should not be sent into exile.
    And Sandy is as domesticated as they get – complete with her own “dining room”!
    Recently a new maid placed some food (in a bag) for Sandy near the entrance to one of the buildings – Sandy fought off her brother* who had begun to eat, picked up the bag in her teeth and took it to her designated “dining room” (a patch of forest just away from the buildings were we all feed her) and they both proceeded to “dine”.
    So, why do people behave like this?
    I put it down to meanness, pettiness, poverty of spirit and utility - quite simply they can’t imagine anything living WITHIN SIGHT of the buildings they built BUT NO LONGER OWN (ALL THE APARTMENTS ARE NOW INDIIVIDUALY OWNED, CAPISCE?) and them not benefiting from them in any way (i.e. Sandy isn’t about to buy an apartment from them).
    But the best explanation comes from my fourteen-year-old cousin who said “they don’t like anything that’s beautiful”.
    From the mouths of babes!
    The way to really judge a person or a people is by the way they treat weaker creatures.
    My consolation is that Sandy will enjoy a bit of respite from my incessantly asking her “whooo’s a Sandy? Am I a Sandy? Nooo! Is so and so a Sandy (so on so forth)? Nooo, Sandy’s a Sandy!”
    This is my way of pampering her.
    My young cousins get quite annoyed when I pamper them this way but I’m quietly convinced that Sandy loves it (although she’s never admitted to this) – who wouldn’t?
    So, one final time before you go Sandy – “whooo’s a Sandy?
    The answer is simple.
    We are all “Sandys” – we are all Gods creatures and visitors to this paradise!

    This is entirely a one off, in no way do I advocate the unfettered accumulation of dogs around the buildings which has been happening lately – throughout the course of a recent night I saw as many as six different dogs at different times at different places around the buildings.
    It’s beginning to look like a scene from a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel around here (“on the eve of the epidemic several dogs were seen in the neighbourhood”) or maybe a canine version of Hitchcock’s “The Birds” is transpiring.

    Maybe he isn’t exactly her brother.
    I’m not naïve or anything but I just assumed he was her brother because he looked a lot like her (but, then again, they all look the same don’t they? – that’s why it was so easy to clone a sheep, who’s going to know the difference) but they’re a lot closer than that.
    For further details see my (eleven year old cousin) Omar.
    If I had a dollar for every time he had started saying this sentence – “He put his…” – and I’d stopped him there I’d be a millionaire (“ok Omar stop, stop, I know – I’m thirty three years old).


    - controversial dog not a genius

    At around 7.00 am this morning (Monday 3rd November 2003) I heard a dog yelping.
    I looked outside and saw Sandy and a dog that’s recently appeared here and appears to be her brother or at least a close relative “clashing” with a policeman (the police in Lebanon are a paramilitary force who are armed and wear fatigues).
    True to her habit of being very friendly to and following everybody (friend or foe) Sandy and her brother were obviously bothering this policeman (who’s a assigned to somebody in the buildings) and trying to make a new friend.
    He didn’t appear to be too keen on all this and was trying to shoo them away - though I’ve since learned from the kids and the Sri Lankan maids* (the intelligence apparatus of any Lebanese community) that he is indeed one of Sandy’s many friends and actually feeds her but just didn’t want to get his clothes dirty.
    He must of tried to forcibly (hence the yelp) impress upon them the idea that they should leave him alone and they hadn’t done that.
    But even after that they continued to follow him (albeit rather sheepishly) and he kept on trying to shoo them off (peacefully this time – he was now in good cop mode) and eventually they got the message and moved away.
    “Move on, move on – nothing to see here!”
    Advice to Sandy : do not mess with an armed policeman Einstein!
    Trouble with the police!
    What will our Sandy do next?
    Not all dogs are good (just like not all human beings are good).
    Sandy is a good dog but she appears to of fallen in with bad company – her “brother” doesn’t appear to be a very bad dog but not a very good dog either.
    They’ve taken to barking and carrying on in the middle of the night (and in the middle of every other time too) and fighting with two dogs that appear to be attached to the buildings above ours.
    So it looks like we’ve got some major turf wars happening here.
    Very early this morning I saw them run across the highway very carelessly (which is something Sandy would never of done before), nearly get run over and bark at their apparently invisible foes who were nowhere to be seen – they hadn’t ventured as high up as the buildings but were at the foot of the road that leads up to them.
    So they do appear to be engaging in unprovoked aggression and provocation.
    This is confirmed by “intelligence” I received from my young cousin who told me that this evening he rescued one of those foes from a small roadside grotto shrine where he had sought refuge from Sandy et frere (smart dog – he knows where to seek asylum, he’ll be going to embassies next).
    I was told that Sandy wasn’t as enthusiastic as her brother but was still a participant in this.
    More the reason why Sandy should be saved and relocated (under the witness protection program with a new name and identity, i.e. as a cat) as soon as possible.

    *If you want to know anything about what’s happening in Lebanon on a community level you need only ask a kid or a Sri Lankan – but be warned that half a Sri Lankan domestics conversation is about coconuts though (man, they’re keen on coconuts!)
    And they’re pretty keen on non-sequiturs too – one once said to me, apropos of nothing, “there are many tigers in Sri Lanka” (so what's that bloody lion doing on the flag then?)
    There may very well be but I was left scratching my head and wondering whether this was some sort of Tamil Tiger code phrase or something – “on the count of ‘there are many tigers in Sri Lanka’ we attack Colombo Airport!”
    Yet she made no mention of the corn nor the luscious fruit that the Sri Lankan anthem boasts of (‘’laden with corn and luscious fruit’’ which is, to my knowledge, the only mention of corn in a national anthem).
    A few years later when that Sri Lankan went out to fetch manouchies and never came back I just assumed that one of those "many tigers" who has so tormented her mind had somehow managed to get over to Lebanon and finaly track her down (what have you been saying about me?).
    Seriously though,its quite common for Sri Lankan domestics to do a runner on their employees (do you blame them?).


    - step right up, step right up its The Incredible World Famous Waiting Dog!

    Early this afternoon (Wednesday 12th November 2003) I saw Sandy waiting with the policeman by the side of the highway – it later transpired that they were waiting for the tow truck that was to help replace the buildings electricity transformer which was knocked out by lightning during a storm three days ago and subsequently left us without mains electricity for three days.
    Sandy is very good at waiting with people.
    This I think is her real talent.
    She’ll actually stand around and wait with you (usually if you’re waiting for a service down the mountain but she’s not fussy) and she’ll actually look as if she’s waiting – wagging her tail, looking around some what expectantly, appearing to survey the ends of the road for a possible ride, etc.
    That’s got to be much harder and more impressive than shaking hands (which Sandy cant do) which is a pretty base trick and doesn’t require the empathy that waiting with somebody does.
    I don’t think it can be easy for a dog to actually affect waiting (as Sandy does) in that I don’t think they have a concept of time (ergo waiting) and furthermore, in Sandy’s case, I think it’s a pretty impressive achievement to not only affect waiting but to affect waiting when you don’t know what it is your waiting for but actually look like your waiting for that thing you don’t know your waiting for.
    I.E. it looked to all intents and purposes like the policeman and Sandy were both knowingly and consciously waiting for the tow truck when only the policeman was.
    Hands up who thinks I should get a life.

    I am so confident of Sandy's placidity that I make this pledge - if Sandy bites anybody* I will bite her**!

    *Conditions apply.
    -Fraudulent claimants will themselves be bitten by me (it is a remote possibility that I am spending too much time with this dog).
    **Conditions apply.
    -Bite not transferable or redeemable for cash.
    -Staff of renatoobeidsworld and their family and friends not eligible.
    Especially Omar who has shot her twice with a high-powered replica pistol (that’s just what I know about) - if she were to have bitten anybody it would of been he.
    -Offer not redeemable with any of my other offers including but not restricted to "...I'll eat my hat!" and "I'll bet you anything you like..."
    -Offer restricted to one bite per household.
    -Offer not redeemable on Sundays and public holidays.
    -Offer not valid where prohibited by local law.
    -Offer not valid where in contravention of European Union Common Agricultural Policy.
    -Offer not valid where in contravention of World Trade Organization (Doha Round) directives.
    -Offer not valid where in contravention of World Health Organization guidelines.
    -Offer not valid.

    If all this is too much for you I suggest you just bite her yourself.


    1:47 pm

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