Gnomes and Pools

It’s still Ramadan. Every year, the traffic gets more manic, the time to drive to the mall gets longer because the queues are so long and there’s nowhere to park. People sit like gnomes at the restaurants, waiting for the Iftar prayer. It’s odd. They’ve ordered already, so as soon as the call to prayer comes, they expect the food to be brought without delay. I watched a family of, shall we say, the more devout variant (short dishdashas and uncut beards) where the greybeard patriarch held his knife and fork vertically, waiting.

It feels new and different, and yet, it isn’t. My new apartment is a rather more muscular stone’s throw from the sea, well-appointed but stupidly designed. It’s impossible to fit a new toilet roll on the holder in the master bathroom because the cistern is in the way – a paradigm of existence here. The flatscreen TV doesn’t work because the RF aerial has been fitted incorrectly and the signal isn’t strong enough. The pool is very small – one not very adventurous plunge bangs my head on the far wall and the water agitator is too powerful so it’s like swimming in a jacuzzi. And why do these people love brown so much? It must remind them of the desert. My sofa is light brown and the curtains dark. Perhaps I’m simply becoming a professional whiner. I was cheered by the IKEA brothel light with tasteful red bulbs, however. Should people knock at my door at 4AM I’ll know what they want.

I should be grateful. At the airport, a group of frightened looking Sri Lankan women were being herded by some species of oberleutnant towards a desk where they were made to stand in line, clutching pieces of paper while a pen-pusher of some kind ‘processed’ them. It sent a shiver down my spine – I wonder where I might have seen images like this before – I half expected someone to issue each of them with an armband.
The images are flat. Like my mood. But, the AC is new and works fine.

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