It’s Friday. It’s the weekend. It’s mid-June. It’s hot, sticky and unpleasant outside. Where does everyone head on days like this? The malls…the air conditioned malls. It’s not one of my favourite pastimes, especially on Friday when it always feels like the whole of Dubai has had the same idea to trawl the one mall you decide to visit. But. when you have 5 birthday parties coming up, and the impending arrival of a baby girl (not mine I might add!!), you gotta bite the bullet.
After 10 minutes touring the 4 level car park for a parking space I was beginning to feel dizzy and would have been quite happy to turn around and go home.
DS2 declared ‘This is a lot of driving, Daddy’.
This was his way of hinting he was bored and turning around and driving home in 15-20 minutes would not go down well.
After weighing up going home against DS2’s potential meltdown in the back of the car for having gone nowhere, we decided not to risk his wrath and convinced ourselves the mall would not be that bad…..
Hmmm. It was. Seriously, I have no idea where all these people come from. The place was heaving. I don’t like shopping at the best of times but it is truly painful when hordes of people are wandering aimlessly not looking where they are going, toddler buggies snapping at my heels and my absolute bugbear, when women of a certain nationality, take up the entire width of the mall walkway, and move for no man, woman or child!
I hadn’t set foot in a shop and already I was feeling disoriented and stressed. Although I knew which shop I wanted to visit and had been there many times before, standing in the middle of the mall with 4 possible routes to take, I didn’t trust myself to choose the right direction. I didn’t even feel I could have deciphered the mall map (which is about 5 metres long) and is usually submerged under equally confused tourists. So, I acted like a tourist and asked a security guard to point me in the right direction! For a brief moment, I was just thankful I was in civilisation and not lost in the desert – I would never have found my way out alive. In Mall of the Emirates, I had a fighting chance!
The shop was overcrowded and chaotic. Clothes everywhere. Customers everywhere; rifling through racks looking for a bargain. I zipped around picking up the things I wanted, and after 5 minutes, was joined by DH and the kids, who thought I had been swallowed up by the messy tardis. At least that is what DH said. I think he was just trying to curtail my spending….
I made my way to the cash desk and stood in line. Almost 4 years in Dubai has taught me a lot about queuing. First, you must clearly mark your place in the queue as it seems forming a queue is a foreign concept to half the population here, and queue jumpinh a national sport for the other half. I stood as close to the person in front without invading their space. One hand on a hip I stuck out a bony elbow in defence of my portside, all the while swaying from side to side with my bundle of goodies in my other hand to cover the starboard side. But it appeared it still wasn’t enough.
I was unable to engage a defence of the rear. I was left exposed and vulnerable.
Two ladies behind had stealthily made their way to within less than a foot of me. Between them they had one dress. A shocking pink, court dress. It was nice but not that nice that I wanted to try it on. But, as my hind ‘queuers’ stretched out the dress against my back, I felt that is precisely what they were trying to do….try it on me. It felt as if they were measuring the dress against me. They poked, they prodded all the while babbling away without a care in the world. The final straw was when the hanger caught my hair and they yanked it. My well practised evil glare combined with my cranky sigh had no effect. I was powerless against these women!!!!!!
‘I can barely get that close to you and we’ve been married ten years!’ he muttered.
As my turn to pay inched closer, my tormentors decided to take the horizontal approach to queuing. Obviously the shop assistant wasn’t moving quickly enough for them so forming a queue sideways would clearly expedite the process. One of the ladies then spied a second till.
‘Is there one queue or are there two?’ she asked holding her pink dress higher in the air.
I replied in a polite tone.
‘One queue and we take turns going to whichever till comes free. It prevents queue jumping’.
I may as well have been speaking to my 5 year old son.
But that didn’t deter her….she was now to my side but ahead of me.
This woman’s brazeness and immunity to all my physical and verbal signs were almost too strong for me.
If the queue had been any longer she she would have stood a good chance of defeating me. A tourist or even a newbie in Dubai would have been easily out-manouevred.
I once read that we should try to be mindful of every experience in our lives. Instead of getting irate with the apparent rudeness of some people, I should ask what such people can teach me. For example, can they teach me patience etc? I think this experience taught me I should have listened to my gut instinct. We should have turned around and gone home when we had the chance!