Normally when I take the bus to and from work every day, I bring along my iPod so I can listen to music or BBC Global News podcasts, to distract myself from the 1 hour+ journey. Or, if the mood strikes, I’ll listen to the bus radio, which normally blasts Arabic music the whole way up.
I had a driver the other day who was bouncing and dancing in his chair, singing along to Fairuz, an iconic Lebanese singer who had her hey-day in the 1960s & 1970s. I love it! And better yet, yesterday, my driver was blasting a mix of NSync and Backstreet Boys – I felt like I was on a high school field trip – brilliant.
Today, alas and alack, I forgot my beloved iPod. Ah well, I obviously get a kick out of Fairouz and NSync sing-a-longs, so I wasn’t too disappointed. When I switched buses in Dora, I was happy to hear that the radio was switched, at least briefly, to news and traffic updates – I was running a bit late and I wanted to know how bad the traffic was going to be – not like knowing would make me arrive any faster, but still. You know how it is. And so…
Announcer: And now, Layla with the traffic.
Layla: There is too much traffic today. God help us and God bless you all.
Announcer: Thank-you Layla. And now for some Fairouz!
I actually started laughing out loud on the bus, which drew strange stares from my fellow passengers, who all seemed to find this report completely normal. That’s it?!? That’s the entire traffic report?? No mention of which highways have traffic or where it stops or starts, which direction the traffic is going in?? Nope.
I told a Lebanese friend about it later, expecting her to laugh at how ridiculous it was, and instead she just looked at me, completely straight faced and serious, and said, “Hiyati, it’s so true. There is too much traffic in Lebanon. God help us!”
I give in – who needs traffic reports anyway?