On my last visit we had a bit of a running gag about “Jordanian moments”. I’m talking about situations where the only appropriate comment is “…seriously?”. In your head, of course. Saying it out loud is not helpful. It happens when you see something painfully inefficient, or when you ask a question and the answer is obviously wrong. At other times, the answer is plausible, but as you question further, it keeps changing. Once you start looking, they are pretty easy to find. And of course, they are not unique to Jordan. You find them everywhere. They are easiest to spot in that uncomfortable phase between the excitement of a new experience and the comfort of the familiar. After enchantment, and before acceptance.
It comes as a mild shock when you realize these moments happen at home too. It really shouldn’t surprise anyone who has endured airport security or changed mobile phone plans. Yet it does. You don’t even notice it, because it’s just the way things are. But as my next trip to Jordan approaches, I find myself noticing these moments – Canadian moments, if you will.
I’m fortunate enough to own a convertible – a classic ragtop that I take off the road for the winter. But I’m unfortunate enough to live in a city where the snow lasts … and lasts, and lasts. It’s early April, and the snow is finally gone. Well, mostly gone. At least close enough for me to put the convertible on the road again. And that means an emission test. Trouble is that after sitting four months, the engine was not happy. Probably just condensation in the fuel lines, because after a minute everything was fine. But it was enough for the “check engine” light to come on, which means the emission test automatically fails. So now I need to take the car to the garage, where they will likely just reset the computer, and send me home again.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with Jordan. It’s one of those “moments” I’m noticing lately. Think about it. In an attempt to reduce pollution, the government is making me drive madly around the city creating more pollution. Seriously? Of course, there is another way to look at it. If this is how bad things are here, it can mean only one thing. Life is very good.
I’ll close with a picture from our hike through Wadi Mujib last fall. That particular day was filled with “Jordanian moments”, and in spite of this, or perhaps because of it, was a perfectly enchanting day.