So this one time I decided to take a bus to a random location in Amman because that was better than sitting in my apartment having what I presume was an anxiety attack (I am, correctly or incorrectly, starting to name the things I’ve been feeling for a not insignificant amount of time now so that I can try to acknowledge my demons and move on). That decision only took me an hour or so of freaking out (my clinical diagnoses) to actually put into action, but eventually I made it out the door.
First I waited for the bus where I giggled at groups of just-graduated high schoolers joyriding in packs and hanging out the car windows, blowing noisemakers. The sounds that had driven me to dive under my blankets and pillows in my bed attempting to escape were now not overwhelming; I could see them for what they were, expressions of joy and happiness and excitement for the future.
Busses in Amman are funny. You have the driver and the control, who shouts out the destination of the bus and shuffles people onto it when they flag it down. There are not really predetermined stopping points- if the bus wants to stop for you it will, and if not, there’s one a few minutes away. The driver and the control work together all day and many have built a rapport that is fun to listen to if you can understand it. The radio blares Quranic recitations or wataniya music, the national music of Jordan, and does so loudly and unapologetically. The control will order men and women around to make sure you are seated by someone of your own gender, which may sound odd but it does make everybody more comfortable.
I got out in a neighborhood I was familiar with and walked. I walked and walked and walked, my music in my ears, calming down. It seems counterintuitive to go out into the chaos in order to calm down, but it seemed to do the trick. Walking through the streets of Amman as people go about their lives, the sun begins to set, and the call to prayer resounds through the neighborhoods is beautiful. This is normal and it is going to be ok.
I gave directions to some locals who were lost, which made me laugh. I’ll never know everything about this city, but I knew enough to give directions!
I meandered most of the way back home, relishing the soreness of my feet and the usefulness of my muscles. I stopped by a little liquor store (to buy water, come on, I walked a long time) on the way and must have been the evening’s entertainment, as the males inside looked at me as if they’d never seen a girl before. Before I knew it I had a plastic cup of Jordan’s finest red wine (courtesy of Mount Nebo) being thrust at me as a (likely very) drunk individual shoved food in my face.
Turns out that ‘food’ was lamb heart. Who shoves lamb heart in the face of some poor little foreign girl who walks into your store?! It was slimy. And salty. And chewy. Wouldn’t recommend it, voluntarily or involuntarily.
Anyways, I made it home not too much worse for the wear and in a slightly better state of mind. I’m heading to the Dead Sea tomorrow with Claire and her sister, which is going to be fun! Floating in the craziness that is one of the most unique places on Earth is guaranteed to put a smile on my face, for a little while at least.
(Update: my brain has decided to return to its previous, excited about life state. I don’t know what prompted that change, but this change is good and I hope it sticks around!)