Just a few lighthearted and/or heartfelt bits and pieces for you today.
In the category of What I Learned About Abu Dhabi While on the Treadmill inside my Building:
Yesterday, I hit the gym at a different time than usual and thereby met a new set of clientele. One of my fellow treaders was on her phone the entire time — a situation that might have been bothersome except for the fact that she had a lovely accent and was saying interesting things. It sounded like she’s in the bridal business, maybe even a dress designer or destination wedding planner. She was expressing her irritation with the long wait for work papers (A fate I am currently facing) to whomever was on the end of the line. At one point, she said, “COMMUNICATION IS NOT FLOWING!” I love the phrase, and have also noticed the lack of flowing in this regard — which leads me to the next matter…
In the category of Communication in Not Flowing Because Everyone is an Expat:
The majority of people who live in Abu Dhabi are not Emirati. AND, I want to make this clear, ALL THESE DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES TALK ABOUT ETHNICITY ALL THE TIME. Two days ago, I bought a small dresser at Pottery Barn. I asked if they could deliver ASAP. The Filipino clerk (we talked about our Filipino selves) said, “I can call a Pakistani and have it delivered today.” I was dumbstruck even though I hear this sort of thing all the time. (Even on the treadmill.) Certain nationalities are aligned with certain jobs. And with this hodgepodge of people, who all speak different languages with different cultural norms, no wonder communication is not flowing. This brings me to another observation…
In the category of Sad Musak in Filipino Nail Salons Makes Me Cry
Today, a communication flowed right into my email announcing that I would, in fact, soon be starting my new job. To celebrate, I headed right into the nail salon for a manicure. I watched the young woman doing my nails very closely. Not her skills, which were superb, but her face. I wanted to drill into her thoughts. Was she missing a child that is perhaps back in the P.I.? (I’ve met many Filipinos here, and in Singapore, who headed overseas to find ways to provide for their families.) She gave no sign of sorrow, and even hummed along to some very sorrowful music playing in the background. The salon must be subscribed to some version of Pandora that offers interpretations of aging melodies. When a rendition of Bread’s “Everything I Own” came on, all six of the manicurists chimed in to sing the refrain out loud: And I would give anything I own/Give up my life, my heart, my home/I would give everything I own/ Just to have you back again. What happened? I burst into tears — the song reminding me of my father. Thus leading me to a last-minute decision and grand-finale declaration…
In the category of The Paradoxical American Pursuit of Dealing with the Hirsute:
Since I was already tearful, I figured that it was a good time to add waxing to my salon experience. I asked for my upper lip area to be waxed first. With each rip, my eyes welled up again. Not from missing, but from stinging. FYI, this is a good strategy to escape heartache: switch it out for physical pain. Afterwards, I requested that my arm hair be waxed off too. The waxer didn’t bat an eye — just waxed on, waxed off. I could have said “wax my eardrums” and she wouldn’t have shrugged. I have found that women from many cultures around the world attend to these types of hairy matters. But back in the US, my arm hair request often took waxers aback. I never could understand why. What’s the big deal? I just like smooth arms. Maybe it’s a throwback to my swimming days when we shaved down before a big meet. Whatever. Meanwhile, getting the hairs ripped out of your hoo-haa (aka a Brazilian wax) is no big deal in America. So why is giving my forearms the same treatment so unusual? I have the right to bare arms!
This communique will now cease flowing.