How I Deal with Life.....

How I Deal with Life.....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Logic and Other Observations from the Rabbit Hole..

 Beyond the Looking Glass
 One day Lewis Carrol and Queen Victoria dropped acid together. Suddenly Lewis exclaimed, "Let's decorate!" This was the result:

This is actually a little restaurant in the Al Ain Mall. Food is ho hum, but if you ever did acid in the 60s or 70s and are in mortal fear of flashbacks do not enter this place.

That's Illogical, Captain
Before I arrived in the UAE I was very wisely given a piece of advice: "Leave your logic and common sense at the airport in the United States and pick it  up when you come back home". I didn't really understand that sage piece of wisdom when I first heard it. I thought I knew what it meant. And it has taken me a little over two months to truly understand and attempt to incorporate it into my life. In fact, at this point I am thinking of getting it tattooed on my right butt cheek.

The following are comments I hear the Western teachers make:

"That's just the way it is"
"Get used to it"
"No rhyme, no reason"
"Sway sway" (slow, slow)
"Inshallah" (if Allah wills)
"These people are f*%#@ing crazy"

Cultural Observations of the Week
The UAE is, in every sense, a live-each-day-as-it-comes state of mind. People do not honor verbal agreements, they do not arrive on time; they do not hurry (except when they are driving and then it's like old Beelzebub himself has stuck a firecracker up their ass); they walk slowly, vveerryy slowly; they live to enjoy themselves, not live to work (unlike most Westerners, who could perhaps take a lesson or two from this philosophy, but just to a certain degree); their identities are in no way derived from work and career, but rather tied to their families. In fact, they can't even comprehend how anyone could gain a sense of identity or deep satisfaction from work, career, and a job well done. 

Emiratis live for life after 5 p.m. They fill the hours with shopping, eating with family, shopping, holidays, shopping, driving in the desert on the sand dunes, eating with family, and shopping. Did I forget to mention shopping?

Women do not move out of the family home until they marry. If they don't marry, they live with their parents..... forever. There is no concept of children leaving the proverbial nest. Even the sons will oftentimes bring their new wives into the family home. Children are not prepared or taught about living independently. Can you imagine having children and KNOWING they will never leave? *shudder*. I have nightmares just considering the implications of this.  Americans start pushing their kids out the door fifteen minutes after kindergarten graduation.

The family houses are built in mini compounds where multi-generations live under one roof. There are housing quarters for the gardener, nanny, maid, and driver.  Large families of six to twelve children are common, but more often than not, the children are raised by nannies who cannot set limits on their charges' behaviors. The nannies don't have that much "yank". They survive and keep their jobs by constantly giving into the children and bargaining with them. Thus, self control and patience are virtually unknown realms to the current school age generation of Emiratis, which, of course, makes the Western teachers' jobs a bit more challenging.

I have noticed that the UAE seems to be glaringly absent of  RV travel homes on the roads. I guess you would need one helluva RV to pack the entire family up and go away for a three day marshmallow roast. And where would the nanny and driver sleep? There are plenty of Rolls Royces, Mercedes, and Lamborghinis on the highways and byways, but no RVs... Not a one.

Have you seen this R.V
I'm Growing Accustomed To...
I am getting used to my washing machine playing a little musical jingle when the wash cycle is complete. When it happened the first few times I searched the apartment trying to locate where the chimes were coming from.  I thought I had finally went crazy.

I am also getting used to my apartment doorbell playing, "It's a Small World After All" when anyone rings. I really hate that song too.  REALLY hate that song, so I tend to answer the door quickly so whoever is ringing will stop.

I am growing bored with goats and sheep in the back of Toyota trucks. Although a friend told me that she saw a Toyota car last week at the mall with its trunk tied almost shut with two pair of goat eyes peering out, and I thought that was odd.  

I no longer think, "What a waste of gasoline" when I  park next to another car whose engine has been left running while the owner shops. I come out of the store thirty minutes or so later and said car is still absent an owner, and still idling away. But I do think, "That oil ain't gonna last forever, Bubba..."

Still Not There Yet..
What I am still not accustomed to is people shoving past me in line. Today a woman in Carrefour (imagine Super WalMart)  shoved her way past me at the register. I hesitated, allowed a few seconds to pass, shoved my anger down, and very calmly and clearly told her, "I was in front of you, you cut in line, and you are impolite". She cocked her head, mumbled an, "I sorry. You no in line". I said, "Yes, I was and you pushed me out of the way. Impolite", and I put the emphasis on the word "impolite". She muttered, "Impolite..?.", and got a look on her face that told me that she either A. had never had anyone call her on her behaviors or B. she had eaten spoiled left-in-the-sun Baptist Church potato salad and needed a ladies room NOW. Call me insane, but I think it was choice A.

Bling, Baby, Bling!
The people here love glitz and bling.  I have seen rhinestones affixed to items that I would never have thought to bling up. I am bound and determined to get a photo of the white leather couch in a Bwahdi Mall show window that is decorated in golf ball sized rhinestones. All I can think when I look at that couch is "Man, it would hurt like hell to get one of those rhinestones caught in your nether regions while curled up eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream and watching an episode of the "Honey Boo Boo Show". On second thought give me the Ben & Jerry's and shove rhinestones up my nether regions.  Just please don't make me watch Honey Boo Boo.

And Ace Hardware in Al Ain doesn't quite know what holiday they are preparing for.

A textbook case of dissociative identity disorder if I ever saw one.

And That's The Way It Is
Yesterday I went to Dubai to Global Village with a few friends. Global Village is like the Georgia National Fair, only without the fried Twinkies. There are huge buildings set up and each one has a sign over the door proclaiming itself to be "Egypt", "Vietnam", "Afghanistan", "Iran", "Iraq", "China" or some other equally exotic locale.  Each is like a large kiosk that sells items from the individual countries (except China.. China sold fucking EVERTHING!). There were some really cool items for sale; alligator hides from Africa, beaded brocade dresses from Pakistan, pungent teas from India. I want to go back before December and actually buy gifts for people back home. Anyway, I was walking with another American teacher's sixteen year old daughter. I was still trying to shake off a case of sudden and unexpected unease I had experienced walking through Afghanistan's kiosk (I thought everyone who met my eye in that Kiosk just KNEW I was an American). We ducked in and out of the large kiosks taking in the sights and smells. At one point the ever so blonde, tall, and in every respect Western looking teen girl stopped and said, "I told Mom we need to visit a country that we haven't bombed". I shrugged and told her, "Give it time".

For now, that's all folks....

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