This story is going to make me sound like a bitch and it also shows how much meaner (tougher?) I’ve gotten. It usually takes me about a month before I start making smart-ass replies to everyone and refusing to accommodate other’s inappropriate requests. It’s been about 2 months now. I don’t know what it is, whether it is because Afghanistan is a post-conflict country, it’s just the way we are, or this is the only country where I deal with servants on a regular basis. I just worry that I will go to far in one direction and become just plain mean, or ‘zisht’ as the Afghans say.
I was assigned a new driver today. I told him that I was leaving at 5:30. He came by my office at 5 pm, saying, “I’m waiting for you.” I replied, “Okay, I’ll see you at 5:30 pm.” I left at 5:40 p.m.
He and I are quietly and politely battling for dominance. If I accommodate his requests now, go home early and etc. Then I will have to do what he says (and be on his schedule forever).
I sat in the car, an old, old, sky blue Volga. The crazy old man who won’t open the building door for me but opens it for foreigners (until I argued with him and now he won’t open it for anyone), leaned into the car window and said, “Tell my sister what time you have to leave and what your schedule is.”
My new driver laughed uncomfortably and I said, “Well, go on, what’s he talking about?”
Well, it’s just that I live so far away so I need to leave earlier and blah blah blah.
I quietly said, “I am actually leaving early today, I usually stay until 7 pm and if you can’t do that, perhaps you should speak to your boss to be reassigned.”
He was quiet for a moment and then he replied, “No, no! It’s just that the car they gave me is old and I live so far away and what if I get stuck on the street. If you work until 10 pm, I can stay until 10 pm.”
So we decided that I would ask for a new car. It really is old as dirt and the brakes don’t work that well.
Oh, and he doesn’t live far away, if traffic is not bad, it takes about 20 minutes to get to his house. When I asked him where he lived, I said, “Oh, right by that Lycee (High School)?” He looked a little embarrassed.