Monday, August 23, 2010

The warsheh wake up

7am Sunday morning: doef, doef doef. I turn over in my bed, hoping it's a dream that will disappear with a change of position: doef, doef, doef. No, it's something familiar; something I heard last Sunday at about the same time. And the Sunday before that. It's the sound of the warsheh. The bloody warsheh - the building site on our 'villa' property. The beginnings of Dad's dream staygah. Our dream staygah. But at this stage, it's easier to blame the noise on someone else. But actually, it's not Dad's at the moment, as it's the foreman who has taken control - of the project, of the decision-making (even though Dad's a civil engineer, it seems the foreman wants to be the man in the know) and, now on top of that, he's named himself the man in charge of the bloody working hours. 7am Sunday morning!

'You can't do this!' Mom was upset for maybe the third time I've seen her like this in my life. 'You can't come and start hammering stones and making a noise at seven on a Sunday morning ya hammeh! It's not fair,' she complained to the foreman, who happens to also take the role of fat neighbour. 'Oh don't worry,' he says. 'It's not a problem,' he responds to Mom's statement that the good doctor upstairs works hard in Beirut every day of the week and comes up to the mountain for one day where he can relax and sleep in. Doef, doef, doef.

And then, once the doef, doef, doef disappears and the cementing begins, Mom finds it incredible that these men - two workers and fat neighbour the foreman - find something to talk about all day, so that there's not one minute of silence outside our front door. I wish I could go back to sleep, but it's no use - fat neighbour will be calling out to Dad in intervals of five minutes (even calling Dad out of the shower), sometimes sticking his hand through an open window to hand him a sample or get a tool. Dad's name has become the singsong of the warsheh. That and 'layk' or 'laykeh', the word fat neighbour loves to start his sentences with to get your attention.

He stands up long enough to get what he needs from Dad and then it's back to his position as foreman of the project, supervising from his relaxing vantage point on a plastic chair, being offered ahwe and 7Up and biscuits by Mom throughout the day. In fact, he changed from foreman to fat neighbour the other day and paid a social visit to Dad, still enjoying the comfort of the plastic chair on the newly cemented outdoor patio floor. So Mom brought out the bzooret (nuts) and offered the obligatory raspberry juice. Then fat neighbour's cousin walked past, so he waved him in to our property to join the conversation. When it turned to topics and people of whom Dad knows nothing of, and rugby on TV became a good excuse to make a duck, Dad returned indoors, leaving the two cousins to chat alone outside our front door. Then two became three and another of fat neighbour's connections joined (fat neighbour happens to know the entire village by name!). While Dad's voice grew louder while cheering for the Springboks, the three men's conversation got softer as they moved away from the staygah - only to position themselves further down our walkway, in front and inside of our gate!

Talk about a forward foreman!

The warsheh on Sunday morning.

Introducing the team

Fat neighbour aka the foreman.
Skills: supervising, delegating, and not listening to Dad's expert suggestions.

Shageeleh number one.
Skills: cementing and taking orders from the foreman.

Shageeleh number two.
Skills: carrying heavy things and taking orders from the foreman.

The balateeh (tiler).
Skills: demonstrating the water resistance of tiles according to the foreman's instructions.

The translator aka Mom.
Skills: stepping in for Dad when he's about to lose it, and making things better understood between Dad and the foreman.

The supposed head of the project aka Dad.
Skills: civil engineer by trade and education - man without a say, who's paid and in desperation.


  1. haven't laughed like this in a long time!!!!

  2. I m in my office after work and my tears are flowing!!! INcredible!!!!! Thanks for the laugh!!! Ze ex fat neighbor's survivor!