Sunday, August 13, 2006

Driver Tales

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.


Former Beecher St. Neighbor said...

LOL. oh kaddu gul jaan, you are definitely not a meanie - and hearing you write about how you are one is not convincing.

You are in the right and handled it well. Don't feel bad. When you are mean, I will let you know. In the meantime, don't call yourself names, please.

I like the car and I like that it's a Volga. Thanks for including the picture :) I think my silver Matrix would love to meet your blue Volga.

Is eggplant (you "other" car) jealous?

homeinkabul said...

You're so funny. I am too a meanie!!! Oh, I miss your matrix.

Shannon said...

Way to be tough sister. Those are some long hours you're working - do you start at 7am? Struggle for dominance aside, having a driver sounds fancy.

Shannon said...

Oh - I was reminded of you the other's sweet corn season here in Iowa. Still a devotee of corn on the cob? I was eating some and thought of you and of a picture I have of you eating some corn at some street fair and looking super happy.

batty in gotham city said...

i miss the matrix too! youre not a meanie. why do they give you a driver? is that common?

omg said...

Yeah, you are a meanie. Mean mean mean. I've thought it since the very first time I met you.

Okay. Not really. But you knew that already. If you do on occasion have to step out of your sweet nature and whip out the claws, we're not gonna hold it against you. You gotta stick up for yourself. Stick it to the man. Or, you know, the driver and the doorman.

The blue Volga is sweet. But please trade it in for something with good brakes. A car full of dominance with no brakes? Well, that's just not cool.

Thank you for linking me! I have done the same for you. But since you're the only person who visits, it's not gonna do you much good. :-)

homeinkabul said...

I'm a meanie. I told the guy that he had to come with me right now to speak to the head of admin and he said go ahead. I said, No, come here right now, I don't have time...see Mean. I'm Mean.

I have a driver b/c it's not common for women to drive. You don't get many perks here but that is one of them...kinda.

moi said...

Firm does not equal mean. You're just so kind and polite that it feels bitchy. I'm with our former neighbor, please don't call yourself names. If you are going to call yourself names try out fashionista or lip-syncer extraordinaire....I think those suit you better.

Roohafza Junkie said...

With a name like kadu gul jan, you can't be a meanie! Sad to say, but you have to be "that way" if you want to maintain your sanity and don't want to be taken advantage of. I told my mom and she told me to tell you, bravo!