Archive for Roba

Why you should NEVER ask me for a favour

You know what really irritates me? People who tell me: “Can you do me a favour?”

No. I don’t want to do you — or most other people in the world, in fact — any favours.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like being helpful. I’d like to think that I’m a very helpful person, because I’m always happy to help in any way I can.

It’s the linguistic insinuations of a favour that I really hate.

In the Oxford dictionary, favour is a noun that means “an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual“.

Beyond what is due.

Let’s do a little more dictionary magic. Due is an adjective that means “of the proper quality or extent”. Synonyms of due are rightful, suitable, adequate, sufficient, enough, and ample.

Ample kindness is enough kindness to give, says I. Plus, for the most part, a person you don’t really care about is the one most likely to ask if you can do a favour. My family and closest friends will just nicely ask for my help, instead of emotionally blackmailing me with the idea of “favour”.

And then the way these conversations are carried out.

- “Hi Roba.”
- “Hi.”
- “Can you do me a favour?”
- Silence for a few seconds, then, “It depends on the favour”.
- “I just need you to send me that file.”


Sending you a file isn’t a favour. It’s you know, sending you a file. Just ask for the god damn file. Taking a quick look at your wife’s CV isn’t a favour, either. It’s you know, 10 minutes of reading. Just ask for my help, and I’ll be happy to give it. Linking out to your stupid video IS a favour, and I don’t link out to shit I think is stupid, regardless of who you are. Make something not stupid and I’ll link it out next time.

And don’t give me crap about linguistic niceties. Niceties will be the end of us as an Arab culture.

I don’t want to do anyone any favours. I don’t want anyone to do me any favours either. Really.

Thank you.

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Watching the tragic comedy that is life from premium seats.



Almost Done with My 20′s… And Life Is Still One Giant Highschool

I did not subscribe to highschool cliques when I was a student.

I avoided the typical nerds, because the typical nerd is one-dimensional, spiteful, and a socially-awkward loser. I avoided the “mean girls”, because I hated anyone who collected an army of fans with weaker personalities (or less money).

Fortunately, my best friend Nisreen also happened to be my classmate all throughout highschool. We navigated the journey to adulthood shunning the conventional highschool roles. We were both always top of our class, and yet you could never describe us as nerds because we both had listening problems and were never really “there” (I later realized that this is was the result of a reading-writing learning preference, and an absolute inability to comprehend auditory information, which unfortunately is the most common method of teaching).

We were just ourselves. Life was comfortable. We graduated and started real life, and stayed comfortable in our own skin.

You know though, when you’re a kid, you assume that these highschool cliques and roles disappear as you grow older… that people sort of “level up”. That’s what adulthood seems like, and that’s what you’re made to believe by the adults around you.

But its been 11 years since I finished highschool, and every day, I realize how highschool never really ends. The cliques are still there, and the kids who were losers grew up into adults who are losers. They married other losers and befriended other losers. The “mean girls” still collect a museum of drooling fans willing to do their bidding, buy them drinks, and carry their stuff.

It is so strange.

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On March


My life is now complete… Anne Rice has shared AndFarAway

You know what one of the best feelings ever is?

When one of your all-time word heroes shares your words.

anne rice


I’ve written a hundred million times about how important Anne Rice has been in life. She influenced many of my choices, from why I decided to study the fine arts to my fascination with ancient history to my feeling towards religion.

Then one day, 16 years after I read “Pandora”, Anne Rice shared AndFarAway.

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All Night I Dream of… Solutions

I think I have a superpower. I can’t really be sure, but I never met anyone else who also uses their brain best when they’re sleeping.

You see, I almost never dream.

At least, I never have those story-like dreams where I’m in a particular scene in my head, living life normally in a parallel universe.

Instead, my brain seems to continue to function normally when I sleep, and I have no problems whatsoever remembering my exact thoughts when I wake up the next morning.

I first discovered my night-time superpowers when I was a highschool student. I noticed that when I have an exam, all I had to do was read over the parts I needed to know right before going to sleep. When I would wake up the next day, the information would have “settled in” nicely into my repertoire of data.

When I went into design schcool and we were assigned particularly difficult projects that needed a lot of creative thinking, I would always wake up with the perfect solution, even if it was just after a nap. It worked like a charm. Even today at work, when I’m stuck with something or when I have a task that needs inventive solutions, the answer always comes to me at night.

It’s convenient, to say the least.

I’m not sure if this is related to the way my family sleeps. One of the perks of being a Assi is what I refer to as “conscious sleeping”. We all sleep with our eyes open, talk in our sleep, and have the wonderfully powerful ability to carry out proper conversations while completely unconscious. It was brilliantly practical when we were kids. Whenever I’d do something I wasn’t too proud of, I would tell my mother about it when she was napping. When she’d later ask me why I didn’t tell her, I’d say “But mama, I told you the other day after lunch.” She’d have a vague recollection of the conversation, and I’d be on the safe side because she knows that her eyes were open and that she was talking back in her sleep.

The funniest part though is when I wake up and my brain is still stuck on the last word I had thought of before it dozed off, even if it’s midsentence.


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