To be sure: it is not just that this place is so ugly and bizarre that makes it hard for us to live in; I mean, let’s face it: there is hardly anywhere where there is no element of oddity or unpleasantness. True, Outpost oddities are usually hardly quaint and picturesque, sometimes they are astoundingly cruel, resulting from / to harsh and unabated discrimination and suffering — violent even; but does that make it worse than, say, a parochial version of (parts of) LA? No way.
Of course, I would not live in LA, either. So, rather than its inherent oddities and its bizarre facts and attitudes, it is the Outpost’s rampant parochiality that makes it incompatible with the way we want to live. Well yes, I’ve said that time and again before: it’s us, not them. On top of that, we recently found out that it is the particular type of middle-eastern parochiality that makes it unsuitable for us.
Expanding on that last point, we are now suspecting that even Home City is incompatible with the way we want to go about our everyday lives, although hardly middle-eastern or parochial, as it is crap in its own special ways: people in it are constantly frowning and excessively rude (a little rudeness is fine), whereas everything is overpriced, horrifically noisy, unnecessarily unkempt and gratuitously chaotic (that is why us Home City-lovers always sing its praises at night time).
None of the above is a value judgement, obviously. Middle-eastern (ok, if you are an Outposter in geographical denial, call it something else, I dunno, ‘East Mediterranean’ or ‘non-Maltese small place-y’) works fine for millions of people, just like East Asian or Midwest or Scandinavian or East African, or what have you, do. Parochial or peasant is also fine for billions.
We were confronted with a number of instances of what I informally called middle-eastern parochialism last weekend, which we mostly spent in social gatherings of a more formal sort.
Last Saturday the loveable child of a Compatrido and an Outposter was christened. Most Outposters skipped the church bit (same with weddings, they only join the party later) and a lot of them were very active later in the restaurant tampering with the air conditioning as a means to kill time, while some of them were trying various combinations of keeping the air conditioner on (or turning it off) and opening or closing the windows in order to create an optimal microclimate in there. Hardly any of them danced, which the Compatridos present did ad bloody nauseam (some of them resembling seagulls on too much beer, too). The Outposters at my table asked me a series of questions about my job (as ever) and only stopped short from asking how much I make because of me cruelly giving them the Look. Fun with Dick and Jane.
A bachelor party
Later on Saturday, while Jod was taking care of the blockbuster called ‘Tot’s hen night’ (in an inexplicable turn of poetic justice, the place it was finally held in burnt down the day before yesterday), I was at her husband-to-be’s bachelor night. I spent six hours downing scotch and water and watching loads of excellent food going to waste in an underground place where they play the morose music they play in so many other places and where people dance only after 1 am, as they have by then got sufficiently drunk. No strippers for the groom, either. Pity: having undergone the humiliation of a lap dance / mock dry hump in full view of male family and friends (some of them gay) myself, I think that strippers would have provided the much needed focal point and highlight of the bachelor party. Whatever.
An 80s night
On the Friday before all that we went to a local club to dance at their celebrated 80s night. One of the Seven and us two did, hardly anyone else though, despite the club being full. In the end, our insistence prompted a bunch of people from what used to be called the ‘blond nation’ in these realms to join us. The nine of us had a smashing time. Then a gay-looking guy approached a girl who came with One of the Seven and chatted her up. His impeccable technique and quite imperative body language, coupled with an astounding sense of physical balance (he managed not to slip into her cleavage or anything) profoundly impressed me. He left with her getting his number (hmmm, now that hardly counts as a hit, does it?) and I had witnessed the first chatting-up event of my 4+ Outpost years. So, wow.
During Part Two of the hen night, the following night, Jod discovered where all the chatting up and pulling in the Capital City takes place; yes, in that club whose name improbably starts with the consonants m and b being adjacent. Sadly, it is also one of these places where they play that pop / mock-middle-eastern stuff intended to get mini skirts on tables, observed by glutei maximi and pecs flexing profusely.