Open letter to the Arab world: beds

Dear Arab world,

I’m also wondering what your deal is with beds and sleeping. I come from a country where bedrooms are lavish, comfortable rooms where the bed is the centerpiece and main function of the room. We usually have a bed frame, a box spring, and then a mattress of varying degrees of firmness that we spent a lot of time and effort shopping for. We accessorize our sleeping arrangements with soft pillows and blankets.

But I’ve noticed that you seem to consider the bed to be an afterthought. At least, it would appear so from the places I’ve lived when visiting you. Correct me if I’m wrong, but sometimes it seems like I’m sleeping on a thin foam mattress on pieces of corrugated cardboard stretched over a rickety wire frame. Sometimes, the mattress is propped up by elaborate cinderblock and two-by-four structures.

And please don’t be offended, but sometimes, after a night of sleeping on your pillows, I wake up and my ear has fallen asleep. This is more painful than it sounds.

I have seen your people sleep in situations that I would consider impossible, including in a bustling office at the Hejira wa Jawazaat in Damascus and also in the cargo hold of a bus at the Karajaat.

Maybe this is a skill acquired upon being born or growing up in you. If this is the case, I hope Miriam is learning what she needs to know so that she can sleep like a native next time we come.

No disrespect intended,


From Beirut to Damascus

Open letter to the Arab world: ovens