Escape from Shmesani

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Stand Up and La Danse Macabre...!

Escape from Shmesani

May, 27, 2009

The following was inspired after standing under the sun in Shmesani for half an hour. Shmesani is the one place that I truly and most emphatically abhor in Jordan.

I am afraid that the new detour and ongoing construction plans are not adding to its lackluster charm.

So as you have noticed by now, and again, I love everything about Jordan but Shmesani is the one place that I truly and most emphatically abhor.

Not a single Taxi in sight. It was a waving marathon between over-heated, sweaty and tired citizens, who were unfortunate enough to be in Shmesani.

Flying fingers, curses and verbal abuses were everywhere. All this was happening in the congested area where I stood, with my hands in my pockets.

The abusive words would find their way into the ears of shy maidens pacing the scorching asphalt in search for a ride.

Suddenly, another man approached the spot, where I stood. How dare he stand before me assuming that he can beat me in the waving contest?

“This is my spot you idiot. Move over,” I barked in my dogged mind.

Don’t you wish at such situations that you were allowed to mark your territory the same way an animal would do?


Time is running slow and the sun is not getting any colder. Who will wave first for the salvation that comes in colors of yellow and green, and that are driven by men like you and me?

Alas the brigand most probably realized that I was preoccupied with my fussy and over-calculating mind. With all of the above gyrating within my balding head, it was like stealing candy from a baby, or in my case a taxi from an overgrown man.

He waved, he opened the door, sat down, closed the door, and thus escaped the hell hole I call Shmesani.

Dumbstruck I stood there…vanquished. I came and I saw but it was I who got conquered.

Another man who had his hand ready stood next to me. “No. This is not happening. Not again,” I said to myself. After gazing at the man defiantly, I walked as fast as I can to the upper end of the street, where an old man took pity on me and decided to take me where I wanted to go: Out of Shmesani.

As you can see a single idea germinates into a number of ideas. Mind you no Swine or Bird Flu in here; so no need to cover your nose with a Fine tissue.

So here is the second part.

Drum rolls…

John Carpenter’s new movie will be:

Escape from Shemesani

Starring Mike V. Derderian as Snake Bala-Skin (Haya Bala Jeld)*

Here are other John Carpenter, or Hanna Al Najjar, movie titles that I used to describe some of the things that we, Jordanians, have to experience in Amman, Jordan (My Hometown).

Vampires (1998)

Vampires are everywhere in Jordan. Haven’t you guessed? They are the employers, who underpay you and expect you to lick their boots in gratitude because they hired you in the first place. So shut up and be grateful, and, yes, count your blessings.

Escape from L.A. (1996)

Escape from somewhere is on everyone’s mind. But this particular escape is the story of Habib, a young Jordanian, who, and as I write down these words, is still trying to escape from Jordan. Every night Habib experiences wet dreams about going to Dubai. He is so desperate that he announces it through his blog, Watwet and Facebook.

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

I am referring to the mouth of the asshole, above you, who thinks he or she knows everything.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Jordan is filled with invisible men and women. They are the talented people who are overshadowed by the assholes, who know shit about anything but sadly have good PR connections. The French, and Americans quoting the French, would say, “C’est La Vie.” Well, I say C’est La Arab Monde…”

Such men and women become visible thanks to the nepotism and favoritism card. So if you have any don’t keep them up your sleeve….

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

Did you ever try to go to a Chinese restaurant here? Jordanians don’t know how weird Chinese Cuisine is. The majority is unaware that they are eating commercial Chinese cuisine.

The Thing (1982)

The Thing is found within us. It is the monster that we all try to hide until an R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) asks for a blood sample. Who are your friends and who are not? You never know.

Escape from New York (1981)

This is the title that started this piece of writing, as I have mentioned in the prologue. Habib, the Jordanian young man that we talked about earlier in Escape from L.A, is still dying to escape from Jordan, and embrace Dubai with what it has to offer. If things get desperate he will go to Zanzibar.

“Must escape…at any cost…” a desperate Habib thinks to himself every night before he goes to bed.

Now why does Habib and many like him want to escape?

Hmm, I wonder.

Taxes from A to Z, preposterous prices, the University support 1 JD tax that they take from your mobile without your permission, very-imaginary apartment and rent prices (literal translation from Arabic), unattainable and over-priced vehicles, brilliant public transportation systems, wonderful career choices and yes, a future-wrecking-thingy called Tawjihee.

The Fog (1980)

Fog is the result of the asshole sitting next to you in a car or at the office. The asshole who is smoking even though there is a sign, the size of his stupid head, hanging over the wall and that reads, “No Smoking.”

Don’t get me wrong I am into the passive smoking aspect of smoking so I really don’t mind. I say, “Why buy a pack of Lucky Strikes when you can inhale the smoke of others?” This method saves money you know.

Someone’s Watching Me! (1978)

We all have that eerie feeling that someone is watching us; and the question that haunts writers and bloggers alike in Jordan is: Will the Jordanian Big Brother read this e-mail or not?

If you have reached this far then this note must have made some sense.

One final note: My roots are so deep in the soil of this country that I never contemplate packing my bag and heading to anywhere.

Have a good day,

A Jordanian Homo sapien, a writer and a comic trying to get a hold of a banana in a world governed by apes.

*The real name of John Carpenter’s protagonist is Snake Plissken.

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