A MidSummer Night's Dream
Got to watch a performance last night. Not the best I've ever seen but a lot of fun nonetheless.
Yesterday afternoon I was on my way out of the office when my boss opened his office & said ta3ali(come here). And then fadali - which is his version of itfadali(be kind enough to come here). Usually I think it's cute when he tries to speak Arabic. He doesn't really. Just some heavily-accented phrases which keep changing as he forgets them & picks up new ones. But I didn't think it was cute then. It was already 2 hrs after the time am supposed to go home. I was exhausted. And besides we don't get paid overtime.
It's not something I'd normally do but I told him sorry got to run talk tomorrow. And turned around & walked off before he had a chance to reply. It was strangely satisfying. He's a nice guy but he just doesn't know when to quit.
In this spirit of sustained rebellion I decided I wasn't going to do any work at home either. Went home, had a bath, changed, dressed-up & made some phone calls to see where everyone was & what they were doing. Result was that I had a choice between going for coffee/tea & sheesha with one group, going ice-skating with another group or meeting the third group at the International Bookfair. The bookfair won. The ice-rink was too far & I didn't feel like sitting down at a coffee shop after 10 hrs of sitting down at work. True I was a bit overdressed for the it but intellectually starved as I was, the bookfair was the place to be. I'd forgotten the traffic though. Absolutely nightmarish.
It's not that the bookfair was a disappointment. It's just that it was too crowded to really see any of the books. So we ended up just walking around all over talking & laughing. Which was nice. Made a mental note to go another day on my own to buy books. It's not really a group activity.
Around 8:30 I called K. to see if he was getting off work on time. He wasn't. He said one more hour. So I decided to do something I haven't done in a long time. Go to the clinic & take him out to dinner. Just like old times.
So there I was hanging around the waiting room. Got to talking to one of the patients who was also a friend of K's. A Swede. Nice guy really except for this habit of being too physical. He leans in too close to you when he's talking. I understand that he's very tall & I'm kind of soft-spoken but still that's no reason to suffocate me. And then he's always touching you to make some point or the other. I don't want to make it sound like the guy is a lecher or something. He's not. It's just the way he is with everyone. I know he doesn't mean anything but am not really comfortable with it. And I feel ridiculous constantly dodging & moving back or out of the way. I thought it was us Middle Easterners who are supposed to be too touchy-feely & Europeans who are supposed to be stand-offish & remote.
In the course of said conversation he explained that he wanted his wife & daughters to come out & live with him in Abu Dhabi but he was worried that the local culture is too restrictive for women etc....What I wanted to say was that if you know it's so restrictive then why not keep your hands off me? What I actually said was well maybe you should have them come out & visit you & see for themselves how they like it. Truth is I really can't think of anything a European woman can't do in UAE but didn't feel like going into all that. I mean come on. The guy lives here. He can find out for himself.
He was K's last patient so when I saw him leave I went into K's office & waited while he cleaned up & got ready to leave. Told him we're going out to eat. He said fine where. I said I didn't know let's just drive around while we decide.
We took his car but I made him let me drive. We put on some music. One of those endless conversations interrupted by occasional companionable silences or singing along to the radio. And I guess I stopped concentrating on where I was going - that is until he asked if we were going to Dubai. Then I looked at the road & saw the beginning of Shahama. That's a city on the suburbs of Abu Dhabi - on the road to Dubai. So I said yeah why not. I couldn't resist the temptation of more highway ahead where I could drive as fast as I want. I hate driving in the city, dealing with traffic. It makes me feel so hemmed in.
He didn't object. Actually he looked too relaxed to object to anything. He'd pushed his seat all the way back & was lying there with his eyes closed. Probably too sleepy to object. Am surprised he managed to see where we were going.
A little while later after I'd decided he must have fallen asleep, he said we're going to Dubai mashi bas akeed we're not coming back tonight. So I asked why not. He said because we're going to be too tired & that I should find a hotel. Told him you find a hotel - am driving. So he got on the phone. It hardly took him anytime at all. He just booked us into the first hotel he called that had a vacancy. It would have taken me much longer because I would have been really picky & tried to find the nicest one, the best bargain etc....
When we got to the hotel it was almost 11:30pm. And I wanted to laugh at the look on the receptionists face when he offered to send someone to pick up our luggage & we told him we didn't have any. We'd completely forgotten about that. No change for work in the morning, no toothbrushes, nothing. We decided to worry about it later because we were getting really hungry by then. The guy was trying to be helpful asking if he could direct us to any special place in Dubai. K said no we were trying to think. And I could see the guy's mind working. Lunatics, he probably thought. Felt like explaining we only ended up here because we happened to find ourselves on the road to Dubai & didn't know what else to do.
Turned out the hotel was hosting a performance of A MidSummer Night's Dream. We were over an hour late but the tickets came as a complimentary gift with the room. And it had dinner included. So we thought why not. At least I got rid of the feeling of being all dressed up with nowhere to go. A late-night theater performance warrants getting dressed up for. So my new skirt & make-up didn't go to waste. It's a good thing I've read the play & watched it more than once before. Otherwise I'd have been pretty lost coming in at the middle of the show like that. I enjoyed it. He slept peacefully on my shoulder through the whole thing. Sigh. All my attempts to interest him in the Liberal Arts have so far come to nothing. I married a Philistine. He hates opera & theater. And we missed the dinner because I didn't want to wake him by getting up & going to the buffet during the last break. When the play was over they'd already removed the food. Good thing too. I didn't think it looked very appealing.
But the problem was that we were still hungry. So we went out on the town. At 1:00 am. We ended up having dinner in a very noisy Cuban restaurant. It had a live Latino band & was still open when we arrived at 2:00am. It was great actually. Just what we needed to revive us. We didn't dance much. Too busy eating. But the atmosphere was electrifying. A really happy crowd.
They kicked us out at 3:00am - their closing time. So we moved to another restaurant in the same hotel that stays open 24 hrs a day for dessert. I can't believe how much we pigged out last night. It was embarrassing. We ordered so much food & actually managed to finish most of it. We didn't stay too long though.
About 3:30am we went out to search for toothbrushes, deodrant, a change of underwear etc....We managed to find a 24 hr Co-op. I can't believe I actually bought underwear from the Co-op!Never did that in my life before. We were laughing like crazy people.
So we went back to the hotel, changed into bathrobes & sent our clothes for laundering because we both planned to go straight to work in the morning.
Didn't get to work this morning until 11:30. 4 hours late. And he was 2 hrs late. That is DARING. Much more for me than for him. No one would really tell him anything. They just rescheduled a couple of his morning appointments. Unless he made a habit of this sort of thing & income went down drastically or lots of patients complained, he's pretty much his own boss. Not me though. My boss had words to say. He's so pissed off at me that he hasn't called me into his office once so far. What a punishment! As if I was dying to be in a meeting with him. Am much happier sitting in my office day-dreaming & smiling to myself like an idiot.
Oh one more thing. When I told M. what happened last night, after she got over the exclamations that we were idiots, going all the way to Dubai & not doing anything special etc...she reconsidered & decided that actually it's nice that we can be so spontaneous - that she missed when it was like that in her marriage & that if we had kids we wouldn't be able to do things like that on the spur of the moment.
At first it got me down a little. It made my maternal instincts act up again & I'd more or less managed to suppress them last night. But then I thought about it a little more. And well she's right. We've only been married a few months. It's reasonable to take sometime to enjoy being together before we take on more responsibilities. Thinking that made me feel some peace. I mean the longing is still there in the back of my mind but from now am going to try harder to keep it in the back of mind & bring other things to the forefront. That's my new resolution. A somewhat late New Year's resolution let's say.