"Fast" Away the Old Year Passes
Furniture Allowance season is upon us once again.
This year it coincides with Ramadan which is a mixed blessing. We are shopping till late at night because shops do not open until after a cannon blasts around 6:30 or so to signal Iftar, that is time to break fast and time for the faithful to let the gorging begin.
So, while the faithful are engaged in an old fashion Roman-style, dusk-to-dawn food orgy with family and friends and enough grub on the buffet tables to sate a Viking raiding party, the roads are relatively uncongested, and all those roads lead to contempo furniture Valhalla--also known as Ikea.
Every year, freshly arrived ex-pats begin work in the UAE around the tail end of summer. Almost as soon as they arrive, furniture allowances are apportioned and people shop as though tomorrow is judgment day and getting into heaven depends heavily upon how much crap you own.
Because I changed jobs, I have been allotted a furniture allowance. True, some of it will have to go to my former employer because I did not stay there long enough to cancel out the one they had given to me. That would have taken three years. I was there for only two. I'll have to pay back about a third. Still, all in all, I am going to make a nice chunk of change.
Too bad, we ain't a gonna be keeping it.
We don't need much. In fact, I was under the impression that we already have all the shit we need to maintain a household including optional items like guest bedroom furniture and an extra set of bookshelves used solely for mounting Persian bric-a-brac which the cats enjoy breaking.
I don't think it necessary to go on at length about the necessary evil that is Ikea. People bitch about the assembly end of the purchase. Round here, a mob of sub-continentals armed with an awe inspiring array of Allen wrenches arrive with the boxes and quickly set about to turn all those planks of birch stained boards into cozy, Nazi-efficient furniture.
The Rose is in her element. Shopping. We are in the process of acquiring more possessions.
If there's a point to this post, it's, oh, how sins of excess like gluttony and greed chap my ass.
On a quick note, I'm quite OK with lust. Lust and sloth. Both should be reduced from deadly sin to headachy. Came of age in the 70s.
Wrath? As long as someone somewhere manufactures Depakote, and I get in a little exercise, I manage to keep it in check.
Pride? Occasional bouts of insomnia and 4 AM horrors take the wind out of pride's sails.
The point of Ramadan is to suffer hunger and thirst pangs--to be reminded of one's mortality and to be grateful for what you have no matter how little it may seem in comparison to others. Is there a Christian version of this? Not really. Lent? What--giving up chocolate, pizza and hand jobs for forty days? Not even close.
While you won't find annual Ramadan specials with Grinches and Charlie Browns to remind Muslims of the holiday's true meaning, you can Google a string of words words like "Ramadan", "true meaning", "pig-out", etc and find Islamic website forums filled with Muslims sternly reminding brothers and sisters that Iftar dinners should not be 28 eat-till-you-burst buffets.
Five years ago, after my second divorce, I was, for the second time in ten years, down from rooms full of shit to two suitcases, a couple guitars and a couple of cats. Call me the breeze, baby. If I was miserable five years ago, one reason had nothing to do with reduced ownership.
Now I--we--have rooms full of furniture with names straight out of the Prose Edda--EKESKOG, RÖNNSKÄR, TANJA BRODYR, HENSVIK.
And this situation is in all likelihood not going to change anytime soon, at the very least, not until the Rose gets her blue passport, files for divorce; that's going to take another three years, tops. In the meantime, I expect possessions will expand in numbers exponentially. But in three years, since I am in the habit of granting full custody rights of birched stained junk to my ex's, at that point in my amazingly punctual cyclic life, I'll once again be down to just me, my suitcases, my guitars and my felines.
Unless of course, this marriage thing works out. Then I'll die bogged down in detritus, like a wooly mammoth sucked into a tar pit.