How I Deal with Life.....

How I Deal with Life.....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lord of the Flies....

Flies, flies flies,  It'll be the memory of the flies that awake me screaming from my slumbers in the nursing home thirty years from now.

 I teach in the middle of the desert. There are 100 houses (I counted them on google maps one night when I was bored) that surround the school. No stores- just houses and houses, a girls' school (mine) and a boys' school.  The entire girls' school is built around an outdoor courtyard/assembly area. The class rooms all open onto the outside. And normally that would be good: fresh air, sunshine, right? Wrong.

There are these flies in Bu Kayrrah where I teach. These flies are everywhere. And they aren't normal flies. They look like Georgia flies, but they are fucking vicious. They are demons. They aren't scared of anything. Swat them away with your hand? No problem.. they'll just come back and dive bomb you, trying their dead level best to enter your nostril, your ear, or some other orifice that flies should not enter unless you are a dead rotting corpse. Or a camel. Or a dead goat.

 It's been a rough week, so the highlight of the past two days has been my discovery of a rotted, bloated goat carcass lying stiff legged in the sun at the entrance to my school behind a trash dumpster. (yes, I am in the culture shock phase commonly referred to as the "Dead Goat" phase). Thank goodness the temperatures have cooled down and we don't have 110 plus degree days anymore. The goat corpse has only been baking in  86 degree heat for however long he/she has been there.  Did I mention there were about two million and two flies swarming all over the goat carcass? A phenomenal sight.

You know something is wrong when you take photos of a dead goat and feel a sense of accomplishment..

Today was a normal, ho-hum, run-of-the-mill day spent killing flies in the teacher staff room. You know, the usual stuff I do at work besides actual teaching. I am the great fly killer. The Arabic teachers turn on the air conditioner in the staff room, open the door, (WTH?) and the flies come in. The flies dive bomb us, they attack us. I try to keep them away from my mouth and my eyes. I cover my coffee cup. The dive bombing flies don't seem to faze the Arabic teachers. The Arabic teachers chat, drink their tea, laugh, visit. They seem oblivious to the swarm slowly overtaking the staff room like some biblical plague of locusts. The flies buzz around, seeking a weak spot. I duck and cover. The other American teacher ducks and covers too. We are the only ones who seem to even notice that the room has filled with about fifty pissed-off kamikaze flies. I close the staff room door and I grab my little blue plastic flyswatter. I stalk flies, I swat flies, I yell out 'Zap!" when I get one.  Fly carcasses litter the floor.  I sit down, triumphant and self satisfied in the body count.

An Arabic teacher gets up, opens the door, then sits down. I close the door, kill more flies. I sit down. An Arabic teacher opens the door, the flies come in, I close door, I kill flies......and this plays out over and over again like Bill Murray's movie Groundhog Day.  Finally at some point I give up, beyond exasperated with the flies and the loud loud chatter of six or seven Arabic teachers trying to out-talk one another.  I have work to do. My ears hurt. My head hurts. There's a fly in my coffee cup. 

This is my daily self determined breaking point,  I leave the staff room, the myriad of flies, and loud chatter behind to seek out sanctuary. Sanctuary that exists in the form of a small supply room that doesn't open onto the outside courtyard, but into a nice, mostly fly free inner hallway. To gain entry to this precious room, I have to open a double glass door and enter a short hallway that houses five classrooms/computer rooms, a custodian's office, and a "special" Arabic Teacher staff room where a few of the Arabic teachers have divided themselves from my staff room camp (I haven't quite figured out the little clique system yet). I then have to open another door and enter a large, mostly empty- empty except for the cushions lined against the far wall and on the floor- "Training Room" before opening yet another door that leads to the supply room. When I enter the first room I have to check to see if anyone is asleep on the valley of cushions.  Teachers and office staff disappear for great lengths of time to catch forty or so winks in this room, and when I open the door, I invariably wake someone and I get the "stink eye" look.

I believe that my sanctuary is not long for this world. I am interrupting nap time in my quest for sanctuary, and this cannot be allowed. I expect to go into work any day now and find that the supply room has been emptied and locked, then I will have no where to escape the flies, loud talking, riotous laughing, and clanking of  teacups. And I will go slowly mad, erupt into a boiling cauldron of unleashed insanity, have my little ass arrested, thrown into a UAE jail, and slowly rot in the midst of a swarm of vicious kamikaze demons while the memory of a fly encrusted goat corpse loops though my brain.

The "doomed" sanctuary.

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