Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Parish is Getting Organized

First, I prayed for rain yesterday and every told me I was foolish. I knew that, but when I woke up this morning and saw thick clouds that came from the direction of the Mediterranean, I chuckled. We did not get rain, but I'm sure it rained somewhere along the clouds' route.

I have the parish organized, but I am not a fool. I realize it is largely useless, but it made me feel better to do it this summer. The parish will take on a life of its own.

Wait. I think it is time for me to introduce that word into the Jordanian vocabulary. Middle Easterners don't seem to get that concept. Most of the time I am interrupted because someone wants to do something right now in the space I am occupying. They want me to step aside. I have been taught to wait before interrupting someone until they make eye contact with you and give permission. Most of the times I am interrupted here end us causing more wasted time than if the person were to politely let me finish the task before me. Then, they would have the satisfaction of not getting in people's way and having to apologize for something for which they are not sorry.

Interpersonal relations, like driving a car, are all about getting what you want when you want it, which is now. The space-time continuum is a different reality here and I think it goes back to their childhood education. I do wonder what is taught in schools.

But then again, only sixty percent of those who attend schools pass the mandatory minimum exams. A large part of the education is focused on speaking the Arabic language.

Just this morning, a man did something routine to me. He told me what he wanted in Arabic and I tolh him I don't yet speak Arabic. I told him to wait until someone who speaks Arabic comes near. He then asked me if I spoke Arabic and I said 'La,' which means 'No.' So he went on and on in Arabic about what he wanted. I just raised my eyebrows and continued with my task of peeling onions and slicing carrots. He just doesn't have the concept of waiting. He has to pursue. Interpersonal relations are much like driving: you just press on and on until you get what you want. It is interpersonal bullying.

I was almost creamed in my car last night because a driver in the far left lane, while I was in the middle right lane wanted to turn right. The concept of slowing down and waiting does make sense for him. He jammed on his brakes, but kept moving forward. I could see that he wasn't doing it maliciously or for selfish gain to endanger my life, but waiting safely for traffic to pass safely just isn't in his mind.

I laughed about two things yesterday. I bought some pruning shears to cut down the errant branches that block my walking paths. The shears unfortunately don't work. They are made to have metal press against a hard rubber stopper. Therefore, there is no thorough slice by the shears. They are useless. I did bend back and break some overhanging prickly vines that slice me up when I walk out of the Jesuit apartment. I realized that I do most things conservatively because after I did the trimming, a gardener came by and cut back the vines judiciously. Maybe I should let go a little more and be more confident of it.

The other thing that cause me to chuckle was watching a man in the bed of a large truck. He was frenetically picking up sugar cane, but when he would reach to grab hold of the cane, it would become loose under his footing and he would fall. He kept doing it and he was getting more and more frustrated, and he kept slipping. He just wasn't learning the concept. I have adapted my language from calling the Middle East a developing nation. It simply is undeveloped.

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