(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

Archive for How to be

Fizzle Fizzle Bang Bang

They say smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, but they never said which memory. The smell of electric keyboard adaptor fizzling and smoking reminded my of my childhood labors in the kitchen mixing cookie dough with an overheating beater. Things like that really help calm you down.

The 120 volt adaptor brick was smoking, of course, because I had plugged it directly into a 220 volt outlet. See, my shipment from the states had arrived — all 16 boxes — and in my excitement I forgot to remember that old electronics are like old people: they have their one way of doing things, it works for them, and why don’t you go bother your brother for a change. None of this “dual-voltage” new-agey bullshit. Anyway: bang.

Christmas comes early in the Gulf.

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No Complaints — بلا شكوى

When life gives you pillows, you chaperone them.

Hi, my name is Adam, and I am a pillow chaperone.

Last week, among my many programs to coordinate sat eight large decorative pillows that needed supervised transportation from one part of campus to another. Unfortunately, I was not the supervisor. I was assistant to the supervising advisor of the facilities manager who facilitates (and manages) such transportation. And I was totally useless.

But I’m not complaining. I’m learning.

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Cabs — تاكسيات

UPDATE 19:30, September 17th: The Epilogue

UPDATE 22:00, September 18th: The Post-Epilogue

A study once revealed the hippocampi (thought to be major memory centers in the brain) of London cab drivers to be much buffer than those of non-cabbies. Abu Dhabi taximen are a step above. Or sometimes not.

The huge blocks in the city, spaced about a kilometer apart, are interlaced with a patchwork of little unnamed backstreets that run like neverending parking lots through garages and alleyways. Addresses, then, in this city free from zip code and street number, take a much different form. Our western obsession with the numerical exactness of the address is replaced with the “rural route”, which relies on landmarks and major street names: Apartment X, Geneva Laundry bldg. Khalidiya Street, across from Kentucky Fried Chicken. ّWell that’ll get you going in the right direction. After all, the “ad” in address means “toward” — isn’t that enough?

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