Monday, May 29, 2006

A Surprise Party!

I began suspecting that something was up during the short Metro-ride that separates us from the Dupont Circle. The “surprise” birthday was scheduled to take place at the Front Page, one of our most favorite places in DC and where my daughter works as a hostess, on May 30, my very day of birth of dubious auspiciousness. But then, Khawla told me that we need to go to take to the management at the Front Page and finalize the arrangements, and of course, Oula was already there, but that was one of her work days, then Mouhannad decides to join us at the last minutes, because he doesn’t want to stay alone at home (!!!), and so the three of us ended up going together, and Oula will be there, of course.

But so far, I still suspected nothing, and how can I? I could be the very definition and embodiment of the absent-minded professor at times, albeit I am an activist. Indeed, the absent-minded activist, that’s exactly what Syria really needs.

Be that as it may, it finally dawned upon me, not the certainty of it all, just the possibility that something might indeed be in the works. It’s only when I entered that restaurant that the certainty of it all hit me. But I have to say, some certainties can be very pleasant, and some hits can very soft and assume the form of a barrage of hugs and kisses. The entire evening was like a breath of fresh air, until we started “sweating to the oldies” of course. Well, not exactly, there was plenty of off-the-charts hits as well, and a few songs by Haifa Wahbeh and Nancy Ajram, courtesy of a CD burnt that morning by Oula, as I later learned.

Yes, we did get a bunch of bar-hopping American students and marines and to actually dance to the somewhat oriental rhythms of Haifa’s and Nancy’s songs. Now, I wouldn’t have thought this would be possible within the setting of a regular American bar/restaurant. But DC is cosmopolitan enough to make such a fusion possible, I guess. This is one of the many things I like about it.

So here I was celebrating the highpoint of my midlife crisis with my family and friends. Duh, sometimes, I think I am just too bloody dependable. But that’s me, folks, Mr. DependableI’ll never give you up, I’ll never let you down. It also helps to have a wife that features those selfsame qualities of course, and a couple of wonderful kids that, for all their teenage rebelliousness, are only gently severing that umbilical cord.

But, of course, I have to rush to say, before Miss Pouty-Head here kills me, that Oula is well-nigh 20 year old folks, and Mouhannad, that Montgomery Blair High School’s Top Male Model (and I am not joking here, folks, that’s how his friends at the school’s Fashion Club refer to him) is well-nigh 16.

Will I and Khawla still be around when he and Oula celebrate their 40th birthdays, I wonder? Perhaps. But, for now, I look forward to the 18th and 21st birthdays. Next year’s birthdays will also do. I want to live my life one day at a time, one year at time, I am tired of all that angst and longing.

But I do also need to shed a few pounds. I moved with well-nigh bovine grace on the dance-floor.