10 More Days, I Fly Away

On August 27 I'm flying out of here to start a new job in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

I've been divesting myself of scads of property: books, clothing, old electronics, and bric-a-brac in general. I've also been adding a few things. Another suitcase to hold as much as possible to tide me over until the rest of my goods arrive from being shipped. A new hat to keep from bursting into flame when my pale complexion meets the desert heat.

When I left Pennsylvania and moved here to the Bay Area, almost 8 years ago, now, I left behind everything that wouldn't fit in my POS Thunderbird. Everything except 12 boxes of books, that I mailed to myself via the US Postal Service. Boy did they hate me.

Now, mostly because the company is paying for it, I've decided to ship my furniture, for some reason my winter jackets (I'm thinking I'll get to travel) and other clothing, and those items I simply don't want to have to shop for again. Plus a reduced number of books. A coworker seemed surprised that I would ship my books. I don't know whether she considered it foolish when I could replace them with electronic copies or what her deal was. I'm not even going to go into the pros and cons of actual bound books vs. e-books, either. My Segway and my bike and some other things will stay in storage. Traffic is way too insane to use either of those modes of transport over there.

So, as always in a move there are things I'll miss and things I won't. This is my first time going overseas in decades so when it comes to what I'll miss and what I won't, I'm thinking on a general level as well as about personal items. I'm starting to compile a list and I think I'll add to it as time goes on.Things I won't miss are easier to list, and I suspect there are more of them, than things I will miss. Frankly, on the whole I don't know what I will miss until I get there and find it unavailable or gone, but I can think of one item right off the bat.

Things I Won't Miss:

1) Grown men in ball caps and shorts.
I know this has been beaten to death, but if you're not 10 years old you have no business wearing that combination outside of a sports field. And for heaven's sake, show some manners and take your hats off indoors. Also, 99% of the time, your legs are hideous. Hide those goddamn pipe cleaner looking, crab lice infested abominations before I reach over with my zippo and set a brush fire. That brings me to these subsections --

a) Men wearing those baggy basketball shorts and black socks.
They seem to be under the impression that a basketball game is going to break out at any moment. Particularly while dining.

b) Men wearing pants that have to be held up by one hand lest their skid mark festooned boxer shorts be displayed for all and sundry.

2) Jacked up, 12 foot tall, high risk of roll-over trucks with giant knobby tires that are driven ONLY on paved roads.

3) Wal*Mart and its subsidiaries, Costco, and any other big box store. In fact, corporations in general.
Now I know that there are plenty of corporations where I'm going. Hell, I'm working for one. But if I never have to see the raw vulgarity of American consumer culture ever again it will be too soon. I'm sorry to say that I fully expect that culture to have bled over to the UAE. Here's hoping, though.

4) Women who use vocal fry voice affectations.
I really hope that I don't encounter this overseas. I happened to be in a place, yesterday, with a number of foreign visitors. I noted, particularly, that French women were, as they always have done, speaking in musical flowing tones exactly opposite to the glottal horror of American speech as adopted more and more frequently by American women of a certain age.

Things I Will Miss:

1) My cats.
Although there are no quarantine issues with bringing my cats into the UAE, several factors decided me against taking them, including that they are 12 years old, that I don't trust the airlines with them, that I don't yet have a place to live there, that I don't know how difficult it would be to move them someplace else after my contract is over, etc. etc.

I had no intention of taking them to a shelter and it's been the very devil to find someone to take them in. It appears that one of my coworkers is willing. This is good, but it's still going to be hard to give them up. I was prepared to put them down rather than have them face a shelter and uncertain adoption.

2) The diversity of the American countryside, and particularly its national parks.
I'm sure I'll encounter equal diversity over there, though probably not within the UAE itself.

More to come for the lists, doubtless.
  • Current Mood: anxious
The clicking on a thumbs up button on another site situation has been unsatisfying, so I thought I would see what has transpired over here at this place where I used to read text and fully formed thoughts from people I actually know from real life (and where I actually met other human beings). And I see all this. I'd imagine that you have arrived at your new destination by now. That's a curious move. Serious business.

That issue with the vocal chaos from young American women is also serious business. Maddening. Infuriating. I've had a very hard time dealing with it these days, and I've wondered where it came from. It seems to have gone through a wave of popularity about 8 years ago and it's only gone up from there. It's unacceptable. I can take nobody seriously, or even civilly, who uses it. But I just wonder where and why and how.

Let me tell you from my short foray into living in the Arab world that the similarities are a bit surprising. Notably the shopping and television obsession. I can only speak for Morocco, but the satellite dishes were all over every single apartment building and the programming was nothing to write home about (mainly Al Jazeera and mediocre American comedies... though there was a "Back To The Future" marathon). It was not gritty 3rd World realism that I saw in Marrakech, so much as mall mentality, just with a tad less money. I have to imagine that Abu Dhabi is a bit better off money-wise, so I think it may be pretty eerily similar to America. But I'd be curious to hear more from you on here with details and whatnot. It sounds like a real adventure.

I was watching a lot of these 50th anniversary retrospectives on the civil rights marches and whatnot and I couldn't help but notice this degradation of fashion in the common human being in the past 50 years. There was a lot of footage of people walking through the streets and whatnot, probably in the heat, but with the men wearing suits, shaved, well groomed... I assume their shoes were shined... and the women were in dresses, with hair coiffed, makeup done... things of this nature. That would never happen now. Someone would roll out of bed in sweatpants and a tarp-sized T-shirt and they'd grunt and groan.

Hmmm. Well, this is more than I've typed in response to someone in a while, given the new state of illiteracy on the internets. But it's nice to see paragraphs of words written by someone I know in person. It's a nice change. I'd be curious to hear more about things when you arrive and are settled.

Edited at 2013-08-30 03:29 am (UTC)