Sunday, January 20, 2008

Masquerade of Life

On account of a commitment I had unfortunately made in what seems like a previous life, I had to go to Abu Dhabi yet again this weekend. Her Highness decided to take the majority of the household and rush up to AD – not surprising. I was to follow later with the two elder of my bros who went off to play soccer and claimed they’d be back by 6 but didn’t walk through the door till 9:55(pm). They blamed it on the traffic coming from Dubai. [Something I can’t understand.. seeing that they were in Mamzar Dubai, which is very much on the way to AD why the heck didn’t they stay there and let me pick them up on my way??? I’d say it’s the male brain in general that is of lesser intelligence but in fact there are plenty of smart guys out there – those kinds of brains just don’t seem to be possessed by the males of this family.] Anywayz between them being indecisive about going or just going early morning the next day it took them another hour before we actually pulled off. I was pissed, it was late now and I fall asleep at the wheel during daylight hours so what about at night? [I had never driven to AD at night]. I said a few prayers, put on my headphones and floored it. Made the normally 2 hour drive in 1hr and 10mins – without being flashed by a single speed camera… gleaming new record for me. I think I’m missing my calling as a Nascar star, maybe I should go and make history as the first female racer.

At any rate that much driving at night and still being fatigued from the diet I had started last week had me totally knocked out. It’s bloody freezing here. I found some covers and dived in the first available bed I found [since the room I had officially been given has now been taken cuz His and Her Highness have found that it’s the warmest room in the house – I’m not sure why, but my rooms are always the warmest when the weather is cold and the coolest when the weather is hot no matter what house we move to.] I rose only to pray and then immediately back under my covers – which unfortunately weren’t mine and of course weren’t as warm as mine. I tried to sleep but between weird dreams and my youngest bro coming in and bugging me every few minutes to take him to the ice rink, I didn’t get much sleep. When I finally did rise from the living dead it was nearly 5. I vaguely recalled being offered sums of money by that same bro. He was desperate. I guessed I could act like an older sibling for once and do the good deed – especially since money was involved.
Since I don’t come to AD often I have no clue as to where things are. I was at the mercies of the younger bro. I was 80% sure we’d end up lost. It was fine I thought, the gas tank was full and that would be more than enough to allow us to get lost and find our way back – and if not Her Highness gave me her sacred credit card. As soon as she heard I was going out she decided to send a list. Apparently Carrefour was across the street from this ice rink.
The drive was nice enough. Peaceful. Made me rethink what it is I hate so much about AD. It’s a beautiful place – residential area anywayz I didn’t like the city part. The highway we were on was lined with very lush drooping trees, date palms, national flags and random pics of Shaykh Zayed – Allah yerhamh – . There’s a ladies club here, has tennis and hockey, albeit roller hockey but I’ve always wanted to play hockey and roller hockey would be amazing fun. Has shopping malls and in general everything Sharjah has – minus the eternal construction. But still it seems to lack. We drove and drove on that highway, I let my thoughts run free as I waited for my bro to tell me where to exit. His directions never came. I realized the difference between Sharjah and AD is the people. Friends, people I can trust.. people I might not trust but still feel comfortable with.. people who even if I can’t tell them half the things that bother me they still manage to distract me enough to take my mind off of those things. People I’m sure I could find replacements for in AD, I won’t lie because wherever you may go you find after time the wounds of having to leave behind others heal and you find new people to fill their places. But that’s not what I want. Truth is all of my childhood life was spent moving from place to place, before I was 12 I had lived in almost every state on the east coast of the states and had even lived in Saudi for a bit. Seems we never stayed in any place longer than a year or two, which was enough to make good friends and then have to leave them. This made me remember a post I had read recently by a friend of a friend. With every new place you go you get to don a fresh mask and need not worry about it getting worn out because you’re never in any one place long enough for that to happen. At the time that I stopped trying to make friends cuz I knew the moment I did it would be time to pack up and go someplace else, internet had become popular. It became my best friend and ironically the ultimate mask. Her Highness ever watchful of every penny disliked my usage of the net during the day but gave me free reign at night. No matter where we picked up and moved to I just had to turn on the computer and I’d find my same friends there. With all of them [including the real physical friends] though, it was the same neither side’s masks came off. No one can wear a mask forever, either they grow weary of it or they persist until it rots off their face leaving shocking results of a person you once thought u knew. I believe that everyone wears a mask but not all for the same reason. And not all masks are blameworthy. Can one be at fault for wearing a mask to protect those around them from hatred and anger they feel as a result of something unrelated to those people who happen to be around? Or one that dons it because those around prefer them to remain masked. Blameworthy is the one who allows what is behind their mask to erode to the point it rots the mask and becomes clear to all around. They have no shame for what becomes apparent and care not for whom it hurts.
Blameworthy or not truth is this life is nothing more than a giant masquerade and everyone we come in to contact with will wear their mask till it rots or they find comfort where they may replace their mask or at least take a breather.
I’m grateful that writing allows me a partial outlet for ‘breathing’ when my mask becomes too tight. Grateful for the times I could remove it completely and with it all of the accumulated pressure – even if it was in front of those I felt most comfortable with; my cats. I truly felt bonded with them and after they were gone in grief I would wish I had never known them. A friend asked me the question: would I have preferred not knowing them at all and not having fond memories of them or knowing them with all the memories of the time spent with them? I couldn’t answer it back then but I know she’ll read this and I can answer the question now. My answer, as you might have guessed already from me saying “I’m grateful”, is Yes. Very much yes..
“Uh, I think we should have turned back on the bridge a while back.” My bro interrupted my thoughts. I looked around. The highway was no longer a highway and had since turned into streets with sidewalks and all. We had gone blocks and blocks before he realized we were going the wrong way. A U-turn was made. We went back retraced our steps to the highway. Where we had ended up before we made the U-turn was a residential area on the border of the city, also very beautiful. Tempting, it’s tiring resisting the higher ups and their desires to move us permanently to AD but no. I’ve become comfortable with and accustomed to the masks of Sharjah and I think those I know there feel the same about my mask.
I managed to find the rink, more of by my own luck than the directions of little brother. Then I went on to Carrefour. My thoughts were on masks and ironic considering the ugly scene that played out before me as I waited to pass by to look for a parking spot. This group of Orientals – Koreans or Chinese, could have been mom, dad and two sisters or dad and three sisters. I don’t know. Anywayz they were waiting to get into a spot that another car was backing out of. They had their left indicator on patiently waiting. A car was behind them. Group of 3 Hindi men. After the car completely backed out the first ppl who were originally waiting turned to get in the spot. The guy driving made his turn-in too wide and ended up behind the parked car that was beside the empty spot. When he went to back up to maneuver into the empty spot the Hindi men rushed into the spot. The Orientals stared at them in shock and then decided to just go on and find someplace else to park even though the next available spot was pretty far from where they had wanted to park. They were in the process of turning around so they could go to different parking when the 3 Hindis came out snickering and grinning disgustingly. My blood was boiling. Not only had they gone and taken that spot but knowingly took it and were quite pleased with their disgusting act. Had that been some local shabab that did that to the Hindis they’d be carrying on about how they get discriminated against by locals and all the crap they come up with but those three would have deserved whatever came their way. Lucky them they decided not to walk out in the road as my car passed otherwise I would have drove right up to them and screeched to a stop inches away – and oh well if by mistake I happened to “tap” them. Their divine punishment will be much better than anything I could have thought up anyways (yes I know I caught myself during my angry thoughts and realized who am I to be thinking of scaring them or getting back at them in anyway??). Now that I think back on it, they probably will get their just desserts. People in AD tend to have their noses higher up and someone I’m sure will come and give those three a proper smack down.

How late it is.. already 2:30am, I’ll have to drive back to Sharjah tomorrow so it would be wise for me to sleep now. [I’ll have to wait till I get back there to post this anyway.]

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