Monday, October 24, 2005

From Lebanon

I was inspired by LBC’s nightly segment that highlights the achievements of people with at least half a Lebanese chromosome. So I’m going to do a similar feature that highlights some Lebanese personalities that aren’t sexy enough for primetime television.

The “Natour”

No one knows where they come from but every building has one. The Natour is always easy to spot, he’s the grumpy middle aged man wearing the wife beater and flip flops. While the moustache is easy to explain, one has to wonder how they always manage to have a five o’clock shadow beard. As soon as ground is broken on a building the Natour appears, and no one has been able to outlive a Natour to know how the succession works. Other than occupying the ground floor apartment, the Natour’s activities include tending to the buildings general needs, looking out for intruders, and watering the sidewalk. He is also the exclusive real estate agent for the building, the pirated cable provider, and for the right price a paparazzo. Once an exclusively Lebanese job, it has over the years attracted cheaper foreign labor. However, the Syrians, Egyptians and Sudanese that have stepped into the field have learned and conformed to the old traditions of the job.

The Natour: a proud tradition from Lebanon.


Hisham said...

While I'm a month late in commenting on this brilliant and compelling piece on the "natour", it's better late than never. You captured it all in "watering the sidewalk". Fucking hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I'm 2 years late in commenting this piece, but it is absolutely brilliant.