Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Shoes I Don't Care About and Back to Work

Just a busy day in Sabra's Sandbox. I worked today - all afternoon - for the first time in months! Felt good to be out there. The Boy spent much of that time with me - both of us covered in sun-something or other - him with 50 SPF* sunblock; me, Jam tanning lotion [absolutely no sunblock whatsoever!]. Both of us lounging on chaises. It was a lovely afternoon. Certainly not bathing suit weather, but shorts and tank top were just right. [Don't need a bathing suit - the pool STILL isn't done!] Not quite as warm as I like it, but the sun was out and shining, semi-dusty blue sky. [We've been having awful dust storms lately! Makes it just nasty, nasty, nasty to be outside. Everyone that is outside wears what looks like doctors' masks for protection from breathing in lungs full of dust and sand. Definitely a good thing.] Read half of "Predictably Irrational," by Dan Ariely. Interesting enough, it held my attention for three or four hours. [I read several books at a time, always.]

I made plans to go to Mall of Dhahran for coffee this morning with a friend. It was a twofer - kill two birds with one stone kind of thing. I need a pair of shoes that I don't mind if I ruin in the rain to take on my upcoming trip with me - and friend wanted some hand-towels. Starbucks. Debenhams. Shoe stores. The friend I am going to go visit next week sent me an e-mail that said, "Bring shoes that you don't care about because they are going to get soaking wet every day." Shoes that I don't care about... I DON'T OWN ANY SHOES I DON'T CARE ABOUT with the exception of my old sneakers - but they are not going to look very good with any of the outfits I plan to take. What the?!? So, as much as I absolutely detest going shopping, here, I decided I needed to go to the Mall. Did I find any shoes? Yes. They'll suffice. Believe me when I tell you they are nothing to write home about, but they have a "plasticy" type bottom versus wood or cork - which I would ruin if I wore in the rain. I didn't spend much money on them, and I don't care if they get ruined. I think this is the first time in my life that I have ever shopped for "shoes that I don't care about." Interesting concept. That. Shoe shopping is something that should be savored and enjoyed. Even if it is just on-line. "Shoes that I don't care about..." Hmm. Found 'em, though.

The mall was packed. A gazillion kids. Yes. A gazillion. On a school day! As we were walking into the mall we stood back so that two little choo-choo trains of a dozen kids each [kids lined up with each child's hands on the shoulders of the child in front of him or her] could enter. It was adorable. Just adorable! The little boys - and I'm guessing these kids were pre-school to kindergarten age - had blue trousers on with blue and white striped pinstripe long-sleeved, button up, collared shirts [a couple had navy or grey cardigans on]. Very smart looking. The little girls had navy blue "midi" length jumpers on with white blouses underneath. Uniforms. All of them. Cuteness factor to the nth degree. [Something I do not say about two-legged kids very often. Pretty sure that if you read every post in my archives you are not going to find two-legged kids and cute together in the same sentence, anywhere.] The children were being escorted by their teachers who were all completely covered head-to-toe in black.
The kids all stared - long and hard - at me and my friend, "Those women don't have their heads covered!" Oh my goodness. One of them has "yellow" hair! [Goes without saying that blonde hair rather starkly stands out in The Sandbox.] You just KNOW that that is what they were thinking.

Once in the mall friend and I headed straight for Starbucks. No. I'm not a big Starbucks fan. But I will say this. I have never encountered such outgoing, friendly and professional "barista's" as I have at Dharan Mall's Starbucks. They go out of their way to get your order, make it perfect, deliver it to you... We go there because it is the ONE place in the mall where women can actually sit and have coffee AND a cigarette. Women are not allowed to smoke anywhere else in the mall. Men - they can smoke wherever the heck they want - directly under a "No Smoking" sign, and it is okay. Women? Ha! No way!!! We are in no hurry - only have a short list on our agenda - and we just sat and chatted and leisurely drank our latte's and smoked cigarettes before we hit Debenhams and a half dozen shoe stores.

As we were headed down the mall corridor, it was really strange that there were SOOOO many kids - and not just little kids - kids of all sizes. More older boys / young men than girls. Ahh. That's why. There was some sort of safey exhibition taking place. Makes sense, now. Field trip to the mall for the safety exhibition. That is why there are so many kids. The older boys / young men were beyond obnoxious. I snickered when I saw three security guards giving a dozen of them a hard time. Where were the chapperones for that group? And how come they didn't have to "choo-choo" to the safety exhibition? Here's what I think. The groups of pre-school / kindergarten age children were all carefully being watched and escorted by their teachers; ditto for several other groups of elementary aged boys. The older boys - more teenagers than young men, but not kids, either - their teachers were off somewhere [not at Starbucks] drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and the boys were left to run wild and rampant through the mall corridors. Very, very few of the teenage boys [all of whom were dressed in thobes and gutras instead of blue trousers and pin-striped shirts] were anywhere near the safety exhibition. No. They were much too busy harassing young girls in abeyas and middle-aged Western women with uncovered hair.

The cleaning men were out in full-force this morning. They had to be. I saw cigarette after cigarette being tossed to the FLOOR - many stubbed out by a sandaled foot - others left right there in the corridor to burn on their own. I'm a smoker. I'm not going to lecture anyone about smoking. But come on! At least if you are going to smoke, do so responsibly. And by that, I mean, smoke in only designated areas and at least dispose of your cigarettes properly. Like I said, "men" or anyone of the male gender, can smoke anywhere and no one does a damn thing about it. The complete and utter disrespect of the majority of these "youts" to their surroundings is despicable. Do you throw your still burning cigarette butt on the floor in your home? [Probably. The maid will take care of it. Just like the cleaning men in the mall will take care of it.] Try - just try - smoking in a mall corridor in the United States. Yeah. Let us know how that works out for you. You'll be escorted out, and quickly, right after you are threatened that you will be arrested for trespassing if you dare return. Better, yet,
I'd like to see the whole lot of you try doing that in Singapore. See what happens to you, then! Much like corporal punishment here, they take a cane to your backside in Singapore for such offenses. From what I have read it is not very pleasant. Ask Michael P. Fay. According to a Singapore travel guide, regarding caning, it says, "This is no slap on the wrist: strokes from the thick rattan cane are excruciatingly painful, take weeks to heal and scar for life." Granted Mr. Fay was caned for vandalizing cars, but a caning is a caning.

It is more than obvious that the majority of your parents have NOT done their job in guiding you in your upbringing. I see it every single day - unruly, obnoxious, boys / young men. I have a Son. He was no angel, but I can assure you that if I would have ever seen him toss a cigarette onto a marble-tiled floor in a mall corridor he wouldn't have been able to sit down for a week. ...long time ago, he and I were walking - don't even remember where - and DS threw a gum wrapper on the ground. I stopped. Abruptly. "What do you think you are doing?" "What, Mom?" "That. You just threw a gum wrapper on the ground." "So." "So, nothing! Pick it up. Now." "What for?" "WHAT FOR?!?" I do recall making a bit of a scene about it. Didn't start out that way. DS wanted to argue. With his Mother [and to this day I do not believe he has ever won an argument with his Mother]. I. Don't. Think. So. DS picked the gum wrapper up, and put it in his pocket. Lesson learned. Here? Nope. No one even bats an eye-lash at the unacceptable social behaviors.

As friend and I were leaving the mall to go to the designated pick-up area, we were trying to cross the parking lot. Danger! The gazillion young men who were at the mall were also leaving and they had absolutely no intention whatsoever of carefully driving through the massive parking lot to avoid the slew of black-robed women traipsing across the same asphalt. What? Is it some kind of game to you hooligans? "How many abeya-clad women can I hit in one quick race through the parking lot?" Do you get extra points for women who are not wearing a head-covering? Yeah. That's what I thought. Oh, and by the way, the six or seven of you pimply-faced, overweight, greasy-haired thugs who were joy-riding through the parking lot at 11:23 this morning at the Mall of Dhahran in the filthy-dirty white 1990 Chevrolet Caprice with your bass turned up so loud to your thumpa-thumpa music that camels in the desert thirty kilometers away were scared... NONE OF US thought you were cool - hanging out the windows - screaming whatever it was you were screaming at us in Arabic - as you raced next to us. I only wish I'd have gotten your license plate [I can read Arabic letters and numbers]. I would have reported you for harassing us in a heartbeat. If you were the last "males" and we were the last "females," I can guarantee you that civilization would come to an immediate complete standstill!

*The Boy is NOT going to be thrilled with being sprayed with sun protection every time he is outside. When the vet told us to be careful if he was going to be out in the sun, and to "protect" him, he didn't say anything about whether or not it was going to be harmful if the sunscreen was "licked" off... Note to self: Call vet tomorrow. The other thing it does - even though it says it is "non-greasy" - is leaves a residue. Great. I'll be giving him a bath every night, and that isn't going to thrill The Boy much, either.


  1. Excellent "day-in-the-life" post, Sabra. As a fellow smoker Im in complete agreement with your description of proper smoking etiquette and butt disposal.

    However, I must dispute your spelling of the word for "Brooklyn youths". I've been corrected on this and the proper spelling is "YUTES". Just for future reference.

  2. Thanks, Janice. Duly noted. I won't make the mistake again!

  3. Oh Miss Sabra, I wish Miss Janice and I could have joined you. Yutes and all!

  4. Y'all are welcome to come visit anytime, DL! Oh. Wait. No such things as visa's for friends. Only relatives. No such thing as visitor's visa's unless you are going to haj. You know. Reciprocation and all that kind of thing... [/sarc off.]


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