Andy McNabb reflects how living the high life can change a man
My rant isn’t so much about the Gulf itself, but rather the effects that a decade in the region has had upon me. Having just spent a glorious month stooped beneath an umbrella, ducking in and out of shops, pubs and railway stations in my native UK, it has suddenly became apparent that I am no longer able to function as a normal member of British society (but then, I mused, who would want to?).
Point in case, I found myself, several times, sitting in my driver’s seat on garage forecourts, unmoved by the cacophony of beeps and toots emanating from behind my idling car as I waited and waited and waited for the attendant to begin the whole pump-it-in process. It wasn’t until I checked my rear-view mirror and I saw the snake of cars, bumper to bumper behind me, that I realised I had to get out of the car and actually fill up the tank myself. Once full, how I laughed as I remembered that we don’t use dinars in the UK.
There was, of course, the whole standing at the check-out as though my ‘community-carer’ had absconded and left me gazing around waiting for my groceries to be bagged. It wasn’t until some kind old lady asked, ‘Do you need some help with that, love?’ that I understood I would be required to make the supreme effort myself.
Then there was the ironing of the shirt. I used to be able to iron, I think. But when I tried to this time I resembled a chimp that had just been thrown someone’s Rubik’s Cube to finish off. Do you know what happens to a shirt when you drop it on the floor in the real world? It just stays there.
And phoning up for grocery delivery… tell you what, save yourself the aggravation, just don’t do it in Blighty. Like so many other little things that occur without our prior arrangement or understanding – just to ease the burden of our daily existence – they only seem to occur in Bahrain, Dubai, Sharjah or any of the Gulf states.
Thank you, Bahrain, for transforming this once resourceful individual into a soft-centered lay-about who expects to be waited on hand and foot by an anonymous army of helpers. Not that I’m ungrateful, of course. Andy McNab is an educator who moved to the Gulf in 2002.