Israel is bombing Lebanon and threatening to make moves on Beirut. The power could go out at any time.
War is on the lips of most Lebanese.
One's reaction to such things is strange. You become transfixed by the activity. The news is on. One scrutinizes any loud noise: "That's just a passenger plane arriving at the airport."
There's also an element of detachment. You start singing "Yes, we have no bananas." You think about what people in Marbella are doing right now. You think about all the people flooding the highway from the South. You start watching Fashion TV as you flip between al Manar and LBC. You think about what it would be like to work for Fashion TV in the marketing department, or something. They've got fantastic music on that channel. Who spins for them?
You make plans to have parties and goad people into coming, even though they're cautious and worried they won't have power.
You try to get back to editing the 77-page document you've been working on for a week, but keep checking email, websites, TV news, the radio, calling friends: "De Prague at 8? No, I guess 10 would be better. Have you eaten lunch? I'm hungry. Thanks for the offer, but I don't want to drive across the city right now, and I don't want to have to see your whole family right now because I'm pretty scruffy. Yeah, I'm wearing my 'Hug It Out' t-shirt."
How soon can I leave?