This morning as I drove past the servo I noticed that petrol had dropped 10c a litre, as I was driving on fumes I pulled in. I spent a minute or two trying to remember where the button was to release the petrol cap, then another minute trying to remember if this was the car that needed premium petrol or was E10 ok? Finally, I was filled and ready to go, I open the back door and told Darbs to come with me and go inside to pay.
"What do you mean, go inside and pay?" he asked. Pulling him along, I explained that's what we did here. He shrugged his shoulders and followed me inside. After pointing out the bowser (I'd forgotten to note which number), questions about shopper docket discounts and then an argument with Darbs about how he couldn't have a Fanta slurpie at 9am, I was really, finally ready to go.
We then headed up to laundry to pick up Skip's shirts. Yes, I'm lazy and he's lazy and I hate starching and ironing and all that waste-of-time stuff.
Home again, I noticed that the car was really filthy, I pulled into the driveway, got the hose, bucket, sponge and chamois ready.
"You're washing the car again?" Darbs asked.
"Well, it was the other car I washed last week and this car is really dirty. Do you want to help?" I asked.
"Nah," he said as he went off to ride his scooter. The novelty of car washing has well and truly worn off.
You see, Dubai has made me really quite lazy and all these normal chores are strange to poor Darbs.
I do miss being able to pull into the servo and the man filling my tank and taking my money without getting out into the searing heat. By the end I didn't even have to tell him how much I wanted or what type of petrol I needed, he'd automatically start filling my car as soon as I'd pulled up. He knew not to ask if I needed Salik, fuel cleaner or a 15-box value of tissues.
I do miss being able to get my car washed and vacuumed weekly by a team of guys for under $10. As I looked at the streaky mess I made of my car, my admiration for those guys went up a million. They were true masters.
But I have a shameful confession to make. The most lazy part of my life in Dubai wasn't the live-in maid we had for a few months and it wasn't having people come and clean my home and change my sheets each week. The most lazy part of my life was the man who sat at the boom gate at my local mall, he'd sit there and collect tickets and put them into the machine so the boom would go up. All so we shoppers didn't have to stretch too far or put our arms out into the heat.
The first few times I used to think "How ridiculous! Surely it's not too much to reach out and put the ticket in the machine myself?" Then there was the day when he wasn't there, he was taking a well-deserved break. That day I actually had to wind down the window, of course I hadn't pulled in close enough so I had to take my seatbelt off. Then I dropped the ticket and it fluttered under the car. So I actually had to get out of the car and find the ticket on the greasy, dirty ground, while the cars piling up behind me beeped their horns. The ticket finally in my grasp, I threw my hand up in apology and mouthed "The man's not here!" and the drivers nodded in understanding. Oh the humanity of it all.
Now as I exit Westfield, I think wistfully of my ticket-collecting man and his smiling face at the boom gate of the Mall of the Emirates and my old Dubai life.