Friday, July 26, 2013

From Under My Hat: Ten Things I'm Thinking

Hmmm.  Looks like she's just seen a Pinko...

So the long summer break is slowly winding down; on Monday, it's back to the office, or rather off to a new one.

Yes, the long arm of Golden Handcuffs Consulting Amalgamated International is reaching out to draw me back into its orbit.  While it will be sad to leave behind the husband, the dogs, and the new digs (all of which still, if you ask me, require a great deal of attention, particularly that last one), my new duties show promise of being amusing, and if nothing else there will be a whole new set of colleagues to, in a Pymmish sort of way, observe and dissect.

As we mark the transition, here are a few things that have wandered in (and all too frequently out) of my addled mind these last carefree days:

- My, but don't we love driving in the States!  After the non-stop, all-star episodes of the Wacky Races that was every moment on the road in the Sandlands, we are endlessly impressed with the restraint, courtesy, and general geniality of American drivers.  I'm sure that will wear off soon enough (although I'll be having a merciful commute of less than two miles - blessings on Mr. Muscato's insistence that we live in what Mrs. Bucket would definitely consider a Desirable Location), but for the moment, we are reveling in the absence of Baby Sheikhs in Daddy's Lamborghini.

- While we're on the subject, you know another thing I don't miss from the dreary old desert in which we dwelt for so long?  Internet censorship.  What a joy it is to visit The Infomaniac or Mr. Peenee's cheerful corner of the cyberverse (both of which dwell beyond The Pale in the UAE) without first having to fire up the tarsome proxy service, which slowed things down, sometimes just stopped cold of its own bad nature, and just generally reminded one that one lived not only at the far ends of the earth but in what was, just under its shiny, shiny surface, an authoritarian police state.  And that's not even talking about the out-and-out naughty stuff - my goodness, now that we're out in the wide-open wilderness, digitally speaking, what a great deal of that there is...

- It was 66 degrees when I took the dogs for their morning stroll today.  I was cold.  What shall we do when October rolls around?  Mr. Muscato got out a sweater to sit on the balcony last night.  I have a feeling autumn is going to be a shock for the poor boy.

- People on Craigslist are nicer than I expected (those on the Sandlandian counterpart, the dread Dubizzle - really - are scavenger-fierce and incredibly rude), but damn, they're cheap.  No, I'm not selling you a perfectly good kitchen table for $10.  Just no.  Don't bother searching something like "silver lustre luncheon set," by the bye; after protracted negotiation, Mr. Muscato has agreed it can stay until I can palm it off on the next generation.

- It is impossible to walk out of Harris Teeter for less than $100, out of Target for less than $150, and out of the Container Store for less than $200.  I shudder to think what the minimum at Nordstrom or Brooks looks like these days.  But I'll probably find out.

- In one month, I don't think we've done badly.  We've gone from being stateless cosmopolites trailing a pair of traumatized terriers to life as a happily married couple with a car (newly license-plated - goodbye flimsy temp tags!), local drivers licenses, a Social Security Number for the Mister, a gulp-inducing lease, and accounts with the electric company and Internet provider.  All we have to do now is get licenses for the dogs and we'll be gen-u-ine locals.

- Do you know anyone who'd like a little gift?  Something they'll really remember?  I ask because I'm really hoping we'll find someone who'll take, sight unseen, something on the order of three-and-a-half tons of household goods that are en route and quite entirely without any place to go.

- When did the disclaimers at the end of commercials for drugs start taking up more time than actual programming?  I can't imagine taking anything stronger than the occasional Aspirin after just a few days of sitting through the litany of vertigo, bleeding gums, nausea, and intractable multi-hour erections that it would seem are hazards of even the most benign-seeming new medicament.  The rapid-fire mutter in which these little tidbits are delivered is even more attention getting than the blare of added sound that seems to start every station break.  Mr. Muscato is fascinated, trying to pull random words out of the nearly incomprehensible deluge pouring from the set ("Did he just say 'oozing sores'?  How can a pill for old-lady bones cause that?").

- At what point will they simply start running the lawyers' ads about these vile side effects directly after the products that caused them?  Between the ads for the drugs and the ads for the lawyers, I'm feeling extremely nostalgic for Mr. Whipple, Mrs. Olsen, and Madge the Manicurist.  Although in truth I'd probably miss Madge anyway...

- Middle Eastern food in the U.S.: horrid, horrid, horrid.  The worst Lebanese joint on a backstreet of Dubai is better than the place down the street from us that charges up to the low three figures for dinner for two.  The only places we've found that aren't actively nasty are Afghan, which are pretty good - if you're looking for Afghan.  For a homesick Egyptian... not so much.

Yeah, nothing very profound.  Neither, for that matter, was the average Hedda Hopper column, although she was, to be fair, far more likely to mention Piper Laurie or Farley Granger than to harp on random TV ads or bad falafel.  What do you want?  It's Friday, and now I have to go walk the damn dogs, clean the bathrooms, and make dinner before the sun sets.

Confidential to Mrs. Galapatti-da Silva: Come back! All is forgiven...


  1. boy, you sure got that job fast!

    1. Who did you have to sleep with?

    2. Oh, cara, I do hope that if I were sleeping my way to the top, it would have taken me further than this.

      But that's the joy of working for a faceless multinational - they keep you hanging around. One moment you're Overseeing Strategic Communications in the Sandlands, the next you're back at HQ, Doing Something about the state of Corporate Training. For all I know, next they'll want me to transfer to somewhere else entirely to take on something else entirely. It's dangerous to get a rep for being adventurous...

  2. I can't believe I have to share a corner with that Peenee.

  3. For someone who has not lived in the Sandlands for many years, this was an illuminating look at 'this American life'. It's always so good to take the overall fabric and look at individual threads through a fresh magnifying glass, thank you.