Posted by: r.m. | February 25, 2009

a morning in Beirut

I struggled to get up early, so that I could get to work early  – and thus, perhaps, be finally caught up with my work load.  But I had a slight problem in the morning.

6.30 am. And there is a car blocking my own car – thus not allowing me to exit.

A visual here is necessary.  Since there is a serious parking problem in my neighborhood (Hamra), and since I typically get home after the shops close and leave hours before they open, I can park my little car on the sidewalk, infront of the doors of the closed shops on the ground floor of the building in which I live.  Last night was only the second time I’ve done this. This morning, however, there was this car – a new one in the neighborhood – parked blocking my exit.

After walking the doorman who told me that he didn’t recognize the car so he didn’t know the owner, I felt I had two choices: ram into the car anyway and get to work; or take a cab to work and spend some $40 since I live around 80 km away from work.

As I was foolishly stomping my feet and cussing, a policeman (‘darak’) walked by.  I hadn’t seen him before.  He assessed the situation and graciously began finding a way to solve the problem.

After walking around, he found a possibility for an exit for my little car.  With my apartment key, he opened the door of an old mercedes parked on the road, and, then, with the help of someone walking by, and after he had pulled the emergency brake of the car, they moved the car a foot (12 inches or so). He locked the mercedes. Then, he smoothly drove my car through that narrow exit he had just created, and handed me the car — all with a sweet smile.

It just reminded me.  I live in a neighborhood.  Strangers help each other.  It is hard to feel alone – to solve your problems completely alone – in a neighborhood.



  1. I cannot believe that your small car is making all those problems. But what is shocking in this story isn’t the car that blocked yours or the fact that you have to park your car on the side walk…It is the policeman “darak” who tried to help you: “Did he really use your appartment key to open the mercedes”???….!

  2. Yes, yes – that was the surprise! With my apartment key, he opened the door of an old mercedes!

  3. great story, rania! great visual

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