Saturday, November 16, 2013

Having a Dubai Day

i really appreciate the response i get from friends and acquaintances here when they ask me how i am & i honestly respond, "Well, not that great... i'm having a Dubai day."  They quickly comfort with a kind gesture of a sympathetic hug, touch and question.  "What happened?" they ask as they genuinely want to know.  i then have the freedom to vent about how the day went not as expected (or come to think of it EXACTLY as expected in Dubai).   As they listened, the empathy flowing out of them helps to soothe my frustrations.

A Dubai Day takes many forms but my particular one went like this.

1.  We are are selling our car and potential buyer wants the annoying DINGDINGDINGDINGDING turned off the car.  Of course it is ANNOYING!!!  It is a mandatory safety feature placed in all cars to prevent speeding.  HA!  What a joke!  Everyone speeds!  All cars purchased here have an alarm that goes off incessantly when you reach 120Km which is 20Km over the freeway speed limit.  This lady obviously can't be bothered by staying within the speed limit along with the rest of Dubai.  She asked me how i can possibly drive with that wretched DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDING constantly going off?  "Yeah, well i HATE that sound as well so i always keep it under 120.  if i reach the beep. i immediately back off, but that never happens," i answer.  i spend the next few hours calling and trying to decipher if any place can disengage this safety feature or if i have to be hooked up with someone in the black market to make it happen.

2.  The same potential buyer would like a record of all the service done to the car.  Since we always had it serviced at the same place this should be relatively easy i think.  i called the service department & after multiple language barriers they told me they did indeed have the records.  (Hooray!!)  All i had to do was drive 20 minutes to come pick it up.  (Boo!)  "No, we cannot email it to you.  But no problem, you come in and pick it up."  i asked them to have it all printed out for me when i got there but was then informed it would have to be copied down by hand off the computer upon arrival.  And it is a LOOOONNNG list my friends.  (You have NO idea how many times i have picked up my car with more things wrong than when i dropped it off...)

No way to print it out?! What?!  Oh, and... "it is 12:40 and we close at 1:00 for 3 hours so you can't come till after 4pm."

3.  Fast Forward 12 hours from the above DINGDINGDING conversation....  i check my email to find i just received a "traffic ticket."  And by just i mean 5 days ago.  That is correct, here you may not discover you parked illegally, drove too fast or made an illegal turn until 5-7 days after the infraction via email.  Yes, cameras are watching!  The BEST is when your husband gets the text before you do (sarcasm dripping).  i am scratching my head wondering where i could have been parked illegally on that particular day and nothing comes to mind.  This must be a mistake.  i looked online to what exactly my crime was and it was SPEEDING!  SPEEDING!  The "camera" took a picture of me going 122.  WHAT!?  There was no DINGDINGDINGDING!!!  i know for a fact the only reason i got the ticket is because everyone else was WHIZZING by me and MY license plate was the only one that didn't register in their cameras as a blur. So, i attempt to speak to the traffic department to resolve this mistake and clearly i get no where.  The local authority's answer to me was, "Khalas! just pay the fine, we all speed and have to pay the fine.  Even I have to pay all my fines."

This is acceptable parking... sometimes

4.  Now it is time to pick up the kids from school and i haven't had lunch and am SO hungry!  i decide to stop at my favorite cafe by school to treat myself to a much deserved favorite yogurt.  However, there is construction and the road is torn up and i can barely get to the cafe and manage to find parking.  i do finally & start to feel a little solace in the dish i'm about to savor.  
"Yogurt please!' i say with a weary smile.  
"Sorry Madam.  That is breakfast and we don't serve breakfast now."  
"No, i don't want eggs and waffles, i just want yogurt topped with fruit."
"Madam, that is breakfast and we don't serve now, too late in day."

This means from 7:30am -3:30pm i accomplished NOTHING on my to do list.  
i wasn't able to get car records, 
i didn't turn off the DINGDINGDINGDING
the DINGDINGDINGDING serves me no purpose anyways
i now have to pay a traffic fine before i can sell the car because the ticket is attached to a vehicle NOT a person & a transfer can't be made until all fines are paid up 
i'm hungry!

Thankfully, by the grace of God, my morning did start off at Women's Bible study were i was encouraged by some amazing women and the Word of God.  Had i not, i'm not sure how this day would have ended...

And now we come to the ridiculous irony of this day,  i met some ladies that same night for our monthly Girls Night Out and you know what we drink we enjoyed upon arrival?!  Girly drinks topped with GOLD!  GOLD!  i can't have basic forms emailed to me or order yogurt past 12:00 BUT i can ingest real gold before dinner.  And THAT is the epitome of a Dubai day.  

Since this blog is as much as a processing platform for myself as it is a collections of memories, as i write, i realize how much i greatly appreciate the support of my little expat community.  There is something so calming and encouraging to the human spirit when someone truly listens and completely comprehends your hurt, excitement, frustration, joy, sadness no matter how trivial or silly it may seem.  Offering to take a moment to settle down in the same feeling as another is a gift beyond measure.  So although this post originally began as poking fun at the absurdity of Dubai it has morphed into my own appreciation for our ability as humans to give & receive compassion.  i have been fortunate to know the comfort of turning to close friends who are always willing to lend an ear and caring heart.  But living in Dubai i have experienced a beautiful gem of truth: the art of showing the same sort of concern and compassion to mere acquaintances & strangers can be more beautiful than demonstrating it to the dear friend you love.  As expats and foreigners we find ourselves in the same infuriating situations and since we are all lost, confused and frustrated most of the time, there is a common kindness and concern that lends itself to compassion toward mere strangers.  What a different world it would be if we each considered the other as more important than ourselves and didn't look out for our own interest but took it upon ourselves to look out for each other.  It makes life's challenges so much more bearable.  

Now to find a way to scrape off the gold from the drinks to help pay my traffic ticket!


Anonymous said...

You did an amazing job of sharing not only your day, but your week, and most of all your heart. Thank you!! Some times you share your good adventures, but this one voiced some real moments of true frustration. We could tell that this was real! But you do have a real source of true strength and comfort in God, and also the listening ear of true friends. Thanks for sharing your life and heart. Love you dad

Lovella said...

Oh, Tami, could this be your best blog yet? Laughter, tears and heart-hugs!

Betty said...

Wow - after having spent time with you in Dubai - I could certainly understand a lot of this frustration. And, that dang traffic ticket...I heard that dingdingding and you always slowed down. Seriously - can't this lady disengage the dingdingding herself? Why do YOU need to do it for her?? Keep smiling :)