Saturday, May 06, 2006

By The River of Dreams I Still Wait

I'm horribly sentimental, but I hate to admit it. Who wants a sentimental goon, anyway? All those ladies who keep on saying verbal ability is something they want in a guy seem to overlook the fact that it's overrated when measured against old-fashioned good looks or masculinity.

I'm not fighting any truth over this. It just is. It's hormonal. It's the fundamental law of nature.

I spent nine days in Dubai, four days of which were for training, and most of the evenings and the rest of the other days were spent on R & R. One of my friends I met through my life here in Saudi Arabia has just been relocated to Dubai, while my sister is following her own dreams in this land as well.

In the beginning, I tried to keep track of my observations of Dubai so that I could write them here from a fresh perspective (we-ell, not really, since I vacationed a few days in Dubai last year too). All I could remark are some of the truths about people.

My sister is not what you may call a "spring chicken," and she has had her share of time on the relationship rollercoaster, some experiences of which I privately disapproved but tolerated since she was happy. She is getting married this June. I've made a few references to this in some of my previous posts, but since I haven't met her fiancee I couldn't say much.

Alan is not exactly what I think my sister is looking for - but then again, I'm in no position to judge. Still, he represents a rock of practicality and solidity that is so easy to appreciate, and if one is a woman, grow to depend upon. I have no doubt that he thinks of himself as the lucky one in the relationship, and maybe he is (actually, I believe all men are privileged to be in a loving relationship. It sure beats the animal longings of plain sex.). Even so, observing them together it appears to me that it's the opposite. Right now I can't explain why, but it just feels that way.

There is a vast desert - not only physical, but also emotional - here in the Middle East. I've been called cynical in my early incarnation as an adult, and even looking through the world through those younger eyes the measure on my cynicism meter is off the charts! I wish it could it be different, but that is just the way things are here. One just has to make the best of it.

In Dubai, the irony of it is more glaring as one would see the beauty of "progress" --- the marks of financial speculation and money laundering are everywhere. Where else can you find some model of unabated economic growth than in Dubai? The place is growing so fast the pace is downright scary. And yet, in this oasis of riches, what makes it possible is that so many talented human beings are being ground by difficult times. The more "pragmatic" ones check their morality on the airplane and leave it there --- wielding their lives as a stick in one fatal piƱata game --- where the stick is actually a bludgeon. So here my sister found a love that she could call her own and something that she would like to build on for the rest of her life.

I recently read Paulo Coelho's "By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept" (there was enough time in my sojourn to Dubai for me to read) and I finally understand why it has so much power to move so many people looking for answers.

I'm afraid that it's not the answers that bind me and stultify me, but the questions that arise when I look at my life and where I am going. It's not that I'm unhappy. I'm looking for signs that all of this, all of this meandering, all of the smoke-and-mirrors, is real, and that my life as it is means so much more than the alternative.

Is it too selfish to have all that I have and dare to dream of one love, a love which has so far eluded me or I have sent away?

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