Friday, September 30, 2011

20 Signs You Have Crossed The Line

So, as many of you know, I have been slugging it out in Doha by myself this month.
Taking one for the team.
Single-parenting for thirty-some-odd action packed days in the desert. (Read that again and insert lots of sarcasm around the words ‘action packed’).

C has left us here -sniff sniff- while he is away for work in Texas (if I hear of one more Mexican dish passing his lips, I may go blind with jealousy), and although I have sat down to update my blog on a few occasions over the last 2.5 weeks, I just haven't been able to transform my musings into typed words.
But, here I am now, and as I have had extra time this month to ponder my thoughts internally - due to current lack of spousal-banter available to me - I have decided to compile a list of some of the oddities that have become little pieces of our daily existence here in Qatar.
It seems you can always pick out those folks who are new to Doha - I was there myself not so long ago (almost two years already), and there is a very clear line between those that are still adjusting to life in the Middle East (this can be a long process), and those expats who have become accustomed to the many quirks of Doha and manage to blend in to everyday life here - essentially, 'crossing the line'.
For all you seasoned Doha 'line-crossers',  I hope you extract a few laughs from the list below. For those still on the other side... come back to this post in six months or a year and see how you fare then.

20 Signs You have Crossed The Line
1. You start to feel chilly when the temperature dips into the 20C's. Sweater weather!
2. You begin planning your next holiday the day after you get back from your last one.

3. You not only feed the stray cats on your compound, you name them & greet them when you see one another.

4. You no longer require a watch -- the  Call to Prayer and position of the sun tell you all you need to know about the time.

5. You become a defensive driving  force to be reckoned with on the road, and don't think twice about taking a short cut over a curb or through the sand to get where you are going. Occasionally, you even bust out the ‘patience sign’ at other drivers.

6. You catch yourself saying 'shukran', 'yella' and 'inshallah' while conversing with others.

7. When speaking to people from India, you find yourself wobbling your head to and fro for no apparent reason, but you can't seem to stop yourself.

8. You haven't changed the sheets on your own bed in a very long time, yet they are always clean and fresh.
9. It no longer bothers you when, in the MILLISECOND it takes a light to change from red to green, someone is already ferociously blowing their horn at you.

10. You no longer feel the urge to take pictures when a truck load of sheep or camels stops next to you at a red light.

11. You search through the moving sales of other expats like a miner digging for gold, and find yourself buying things you don’t at all need ("OMG, they have a _____ for sale. We MUST snatch this up before someone else does!")

12. You stock pile alcohol in a spare room in your home 'just in case'.

13. You think it’s completely normal to set up a picnic (complete with lawn chairs, tables and blankets) for the whole family at 11 o'clock at night.
14. You pace back and forth outside your neighbour’s villa when you pick up the unmistakable scent of smuggled bacon wafting through the windows.

15. You start to ponder the punishment if caught with your own suitcase full of pork... how bad could it really be?

16. You have a closet full of custom tailored suits, tuxedos, dresses, skirts, and any number of shirts/pants that fit you to a 'T' because you had them made just for you at one of the 5000 tailor shops around town.

17. You no longer fear a left hand turn in a roundabout, but embrace it wholeheartedly. Hesitation is for the weak.

18. You know that if a restaurant will cook it for you, they will also deliver it to you at home -- 'no problem'.

19. You get up early Friday morning and have nothing to do, but just can't wait to go for a drive and enjoy the empty roads.

20. You never get your weekend days confused anymore. Thursday night is the best night of the week and Saturday night is a drag - end of story.

I don’t quite have all of these covered yet, but am creeping my way through the list at a very steady pace.
What about you?
...Crossed the Line Yet?


  1. I scored a 90% - does that mean I've crossed the line?? Great post...and frighteningly true!! DL

  2. I could add "when you try to drive a car after years of SUVing everywhere, and feel strangely small and out of place in it". I laughed out loud at the bacon bit - I have done this myself. Carol

  3. Enjoyed as usual!! LeanneD.

  4. excellent keep em coming! love that picture def a great cover for the book you should be writing!

  5. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm bacon !!

  6. Very funny. I could add a few! SM

  7. I need to apologize as Crystal and I may have contributed to your Mexican jealousy when we so blatantly arranged to meet your husband for sinner (Freudian slip? I meant to type “dinner”) at Lupe Tortillas. I feel bad because we did in fact under his guidance order the Steak Fajitas that did in fact come with the tortillas so soft, so warm that one could (as he said you often felt like doing) place them directly on to your face like a first class hot towel. Those were, and I’m not just saying this to hurt you, the best Steak Fajitas with warm, fresh made flour tortillas I’ve EVER had. Did I mention the tortillas?

    Love your list and as usual you had me laughing and reminiscing. On #7 I found myself wobbling my head reading it. #8 certainly reminds me of our house boy Desi in Saudi who ironed the sheets before he put them on the bed. #11 reminds how we used to take lots and lots of “shopping trips” because what the heck else was there to do in the dessert but go shopping. #13 is I suspect a Ramadan reference. “Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated”

  8. @ Tim - I knew you would relate to a few of these... and you mean Crystal doesn't iron your bedsheets now!? ;-)

  9. Great read - I can relate to a few of these from my visits!: ) nm