Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mission impossible

I've been putting off the weekly grocery shopping trip for a few days now. But this morning, we were really down to the dregs, so I made my list and loaded up Magdalena in the car. Just for fun (famous last words), I thought I'd try shopping at the Carrefour in Sharjah instead of the one in Ajman. This, despite the fact that multiple people have told me to never, ever attempt to go to the Carrefour in Sharjah. They all told me it was impossible to get to and that the traffic on said impossible route was nearly always bad.

But I thought it would be a good chance to get to know the roads of Sharjah better. I find that I only make the same wrong turn(s) three times. After three times of misunderstanding the poorly worded sign, or being in the wrong lane at the crucial moment, or not being brave enough to elbow my way through a tricky driving maneuver, I generally figure it out and do ok. And the sooner I get to that point, the better, right?

But holy cow, people, DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO GO TO THE CARREFOUR IN SHARJAH. After nearly 45 minutes of traffic-impeded driving, we were mere meters from the front of the store. I could see it right there. I carefully studied the directional sign that had a squiggly line with arrows to tell me the way to the entrance. And then I watched helplessly as we zoomed right past past said entrance. It was a tiny slot in the right curbside and I missed it. An extremely elaborate U-turn would have been required to have another go.

So we went home, with the grocery shopping undone. Honestly.

Then, today of all days, the worker dudes showed up in our back yard after we got home. They are still working on putting in the grass but it's been a while since I've seen them. I noticed them come in the back gate just after I put Magdalena down for her nap. Before they could look through the sliding glass door and notice that I was home, I - and I am not making this up - dove behind the couch so they wouldn't see me. I have given them food every time they've worked in our yard but today I had NOTHING to share. No bread. No bananas. No apples. No cucumbers. Nothing. I couldn't face them.

But then they knocked on the sliding glass door. And there I was, cowering out of sight behind the couch. After a few minutes, I realized I couldn't stay there forever (and also that this was ridiculous), so I crept out in an area where they couldn't see me and then sauntered into the room from there like normal.

I gave them water, a single apple I found in the back of the fridge, and some carrots. I had forgotten we had carrots. But in some ways, that strange assortment of food was worse than nothing. How do I know this? Because they didn't eat the carrots. What the?!?

Anyway, tomorrow I'll go to the Ajman Carrefour like normal and I'll get some extra bread for the worker dudes but no carrots and there will be no more hiding behind the couch. At least I hope not.


Kristen said...

This made me laugh SO HARD. From missing the tiny turnoff and going home empty-handed, to cowering behind the couch, to standing up out of sight and sauntering in all nonchalant, to the carrots left behind. I'm wiping a tear.

And I would like to point out that I am making the first comment, and am all caught up. Thank you, thank you.

Beth said...

Bridget, this reminds me of the time I offered bluebery muffins to the men who were doing some heavy landscaping in our backyard. They were quite polite, thanked me profusely, and then left the entire plate untouched. At least I prefer to remember that it was the entire plate...there may have been one muffin that some brave guinea pig/gardener tried, only to warn the others not to eat the rest.

At least the food your landscapers rejected wasn't a homemade treat. (Does that make you feel at all better?)

Liz Johnson said...

HAHAHAHAHA the diving behind the couch and then slithering away to come into the room all normal... oh man, that is so awesome. And the fact that they knocked on your window for treats - that's also quite awesome.

And do not worry, I will never, ever attempt to go to the Carrefour in Sharjah. Your caution is well-heeded.

Sherwood family said...

That's one thing I like about living in an apartment here in Cairo - if someone knocks on my door and I don't want to be home, I don't have to be. As long as the girls don't give me away.

But I suppose the yard is probably worth the occasional lack of anonymity.

Bridget said...

Beth, that is ever so slightly more humiliating then my carrots being left. What is the deal? Since when is free food untouchable??

Kat Clark said...

Loved it! So entertaining!

Shannan said...

Quick question - how do you pronouce Sharjah? My poor American sensibilities picture "Shar-G-ah" but I'm sure that isn't right.Just wondering since I'm devouring all your middle east stories.

Bridget said...

Shannan - it's SHAR-zhuh. I used to say it more like SHAR-zhaa but people here are lazy and slur the second syllable a bit.

In Arabic, it's a different word, pronounced SHAR-eh-quh.

Anonymous said...

Very good post.

Anonymous said...

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Julie said...

This made me remember the time I did face masks with my little brother and some missionaries came to the door. We hid in the bathroom so they couldn't see us through the glass on either side of the front door. After what we thought was a safe amount of time, we snuck out into the kitchen, only to find that the missionaries had come around to the back door (we were in the mission home) and could see us in plain view through the sliding glass door.

Fun story! I hope they get your grass done soon!

Anonymous said...

О! Vielen Dank, gute Arbeit! Dies war das Zeug, das ich hatte zu haben.


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