radio free kuwait

Saturday, February 18, 2006

It's Just Not Funny Anymore ...

Okay, I could take the fact that in the three weeks I've been in my apartment, I've had an internet connection for three days.

I could take the fact that I didn't have TV reception for two weeks either.

I could take the fact that the new office had an on again, off again internet connection that required us renting a satellite office with a stable connection so we can properly launch the website.

I could even take the morning this week when the new office had no running water for six hours.

But now Kuwait is trying to kill me.

Got on the elevator at the satellite office yesterday. Dog tired and looking forward to going home for a nap. Mind wandering. The elevator moved down about two feet and then dropped another four feet and stopped between floors. Ok. That got my attention.

The elevator was one of those glass enclosed jobs so everyone in the (nearly empty) mall attached to the office building could see me and see that I was stuck. Most of them started laughing. About the only two who didn't notice were my co-workers, Marie and Kutub, who had finished shopping and blithely exited the building (maybe they only pretended no to notice). I rang the alarm button and started gesturing towards any security guards I could see. They all pointed to another guard who took about ten minutes to show up. After another five minutes or so he got a couple of janitorial types to show up. Eventually one of them produced a device like the type of thing you would use to unlock your car door if you locked your keys in the car.

This is when I started to get a little scared. I'm not at all claustrophobic and normally the prospect of being stuck in an elevator wouldn't bug me. But I suddenly realized that none of these guys really knew what they were doing. These were just the $1 an hour bodies the mall owners had hired to sweep floors, screw in switchplates, and the like. No one had any knowledge of elevator mechanics and if they started screwing around with things they could just as easily send the elevator plunging three floors to the ground instead of getting the doors open. I called Marie and told her that if she didn't hear back from me in an hour she might want to start notifying my next of kin.

Finally, two management guys in suits showed up and took charge. They managed to get the guys to pull one set of doors open and I wedged the other set open. They pulled me out of the elevator car, crisis averted.

The two management guys were all smiles and laughs. "What more do you want us to do?" The look on my face caused the first guy to hastily explain, "We aren't the owners of the mall, we just own that menswear store over there." I'd been saved by Samaritan tailors.

In the US there would have been angry calls to building management, threats of lawsuits at the like. Here in Kuwait, I walked outside, got a taxi and headed home.

Inshallah, indeed.


At February 19, 2006 4:11 PM, Anonymous Carpe Diem Baby! said...

I feel for you man.

Sigh... Welcome to Kuwait!

I have been here for a total of 27 yrs now btw...

But as all other places there is good and there is bad. In my case the good outweighs the bad so that explains why I am still here. One shouldn't complain about why they are here if the scales tip in favour of the good. So mum's the word!

Dont know what to say that will help with your problems but keep your chin up and give em hell. Dont give in so easy. Quitters are taken advantage of out here from what I have seen.

All the best!

At February 20, 2006 11:06 AM, Blogger woman wandering said...

I thought I was having a bad 24 hours but no, you win ... stuck in a glass elevator in a Mall with janitor types trying to save you in a foreign country ... thanks for sharing though. You did make me smile (in sympathy, she quickly adds)


At March 02, 2006 1:15 AM, Blogger woman wandering said...

I shouldn't have laughed about you trapped in the elevator. My partner recently spent 25 minutes trapped in a non-glass, absolutely tiny, emergency-light-not-working elevator a few inches below the floor we live on ... I think I might have jinxed him by imaginging your plight and accidently giggling.


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