The other day, while I was waiting for my niece to finish dabka practice. One of the mommies in the group told us that everyone living outside Jordan is better behaved then us, while another woman blamed Amman’s so called negativity on the fact that we don’t have a seaside. Hearing these words, I wondered, if every country lacking seaside is negative, and then I stopped myself to wonder the bigger and deeper question “Are we really negative?” For starters, these two women are blaming the world around them and even the inevitable forces of Geography to explain their inner lack of satisfaction with the so-called behavior of fellow citizens .
Sure, I am like that too sometimes . I do find myself complaining about little things that bother me about our behavior. For example, I am personally bothered by the fact that you could walk into an elevator in the morning, say good morning to the people standing there, and simply get no reply. I am bothered by people who can’t dignify me with an answer to my question, not to mention the cab driver who makes it seem like he is doing me a favor by dropping me off. In fact, just last week I got annoyed by a driver whom I am paying every month to take me home from work, because he blew up at me for being ten minutes late. I even wondered if I should apologize to his royal highness about my boss’s last minute request. I do complain about the arbitrary traditions of Eid, and the lack of logic in arranged marriages. I complain about our society’s view of a 30 something single woman, and the people’s innate sense of entitlement to pass judgment on one’s personal life choices. But, then again I don’t think these little things make me a negative person nor do these social traits make the entire population of Jordan negative.
I wonder why foreigners all say we are friendly while we call ourselves rude, maybe it is our definition of the term that is causing this misunderstanding. People make silly complaints about Amman , yet they make their complaints sound as if they are catastrophic . They say Amman is expensive, and I would agree that to some degree it is. That is why to maintain a certain lifestyle, and to indulge in the things I like, I find myself working a full time job and doing freelance work on the side. You see, I like to treat myself and I hate complaining and that is how I achieve both. Others who prefer to complain about life being expensive want one very good paying job. This fact brings me to my second favorite complaint, which is the one where people often say they work too hard in the private sector. Well, again I have news for these people. It is called work it isn’t called “I am going to have fun and occasionally do a few important things”, It is ok to work from 9 to 5 and not have time for your Smartphone, Whatsapp, or Facebook because it is called work.
From another angle, those in the public sector complain that the salaries are not great, but then again they are not working from 9 to 5, and sometimes taking work home with them. nor do they have a boss who can easily fire them at anytime without any prior notice. Of course, if Jordan and especially the city of Amman is expensive, there are so many things people can do to change their situation. Another complaint we often here, is that there are no jobs. The correction here should be that there are no perfect jobs to meet unrealistic demands, but there are many jobs, that requiare people to compromise a bit of their standards on to get. I really find it funny how some people would prefer to get zero income and sit at home, instead of getting a small income while they search for something better .So, Amman isn’t really expensive , we just don’t want to work.
While single women complain about still being single, married women complain all the time that they work, and some of them even believe that they deserve a medal for contributing to their own home’s finances. Well to these women I would say “guess what, you are not contributing to the neighbors., so it is ok to work Again if you want a decent life for you, the man you decided to be with, and the kids you bought into this world then work. It won’t kill you”
Some men even complain that their working wives don’t have food on the table on time, and to these men I would say “You married a woman, not superwoman! She works like you, and she comes home like you, so why should she have the magical powers of responding to your demands and the demands of a boss outside the home. She is contributing to the income, cut her some slack and lower your expectations.”
Single girls wait for prince charming, which is all nice and good, yet they hate every minute of their lives because they are still single. Truth be told, Prince charming died a long time ago, I think he ate the apple instead of Snow White. Single men complain that they didn’t find their princess, i.e. the girl with the perfect looks, who never disagrees with them, who will make all their dreams come true, and who will never ever make mistakes with them, who is open minded yet traditional, conservative yet liberal, skinny yet with curves, funny yet with brains, tall yet not taller than them, or short yet not too short, intelligent yet dumb enough to not detect when something doesn’t sound logical, obedient yet with a personality, and never ever criticizing of anything and the list goes on. To them I would say, Cinderella died , I think she turned into a frog at midnight along with her horse and carriage, and unfortunately they are stuck with the normal people.
So, I think we don’t really have a problem of negativity in Jordan, I think we have a problem of expectations and entitlement. For some reason people believe that they have the right to be happy 24/7 with their city and the people around them, when no one can achieve that. They believe they should enjoy life without working for it, and the women believe their men should be like prince charming and the men believe that women should be like a Disney princess. Somewhere along the line we forgot that we are real people living in a real world, and that being positive or negative is not something cities , countries, or even the people around us can help us achieve. It comes from within.
And, yes the world always looks great when you are on vacation, but I don’t think those well-behaved foreigners will be all smiles and positivity when they are doing their taxes. In closing, I am not saying that Jordan has no problems sure it does, but then again everywhere on the planet has problems. If everyone stopped complaining, then maybe we wouldn’t seem so negative. About those two women, I wonder how positive are they when they are complaining about the world’s negativity ?