Just my luck

Just my luck

As I near my car, I swear loudly. The pigeons have been at it again. Splashed all over the windshield. And the wiper is sticking up, so the watchman won’t clean the car again.

It’s uncanny how birds choose my car. The car next to it looks like it has just come out of a car spa — shiny and squeaky clean. I shrug my shoulders. Oh well.I get in and start the routine. The pedestrian crossing signal near home isn’t working. A furtive pedestrian rushes across just as I tread on my accelerator. I end up giving him a scare, inadvertently and feel guilty. He looks in my direction and hurls an abuse. My guilt disappears. We’re even now.

I zip along a couple of hundred meters. The traffic seems light today. It’s so unpredictable, I think to myself and put it down to luck. But just as I hit the parallel road, my ‘luck’ runs out. The signal changes thrice before I get past it. Why does the red always seem to last longer than the green? Do they program it that way? I gaze at the drivers of the cars nearby. They too, look at me instinctively and then as if by mutual arrangement, we simultaneously look away.

At the green, I’m a fraction of a second late in taking off. Within that time, someone honks furiously and repeatedly from behind me. I look at the rear view mirror. It is a lady. I’m a little surprised. Sign of the times, I tell myself. Everyone is aggressive and no one has time to linger. Half a kilometer down the road, the next signal is still blinking green as I approach it, but someone cuts ahead of me and pushes through the amber, leaving me behind. Another loud honk. I sheepishly look at the mirror again. The guy behind me gesticulates angrily. He is unhappy that I let the car pass. If I had kept going, he might have been able to sneak through as well.

I switch on the FM. It’s a new song that I’m already bored of. Once a song becomes a hit nowadays, there’s no escape. They pelt you, bombard you with it till you scream. I skip to the next. Two RJs are chatting. The girl is trying to be coquettish and the guy working at being cool and clever. Neither of them succeed. Being an RJ must be one of the most difficult jobs in the world, I think. Imagine getting up every morning and being forced to sound chirpy or funny. The advertisements begin to irritate me. Why can’t we just have music! Next, someone is telling listeners how to make a smoothie. I listen for some time and then switch. An RJ is now playing a prank on a ‘birthday boy’.

Salik. Four dirhams gone. Poof! The driver in front nonchalantly tosses a cigarette butt out and it flies towards my car. I glare at the back of his head.Meanwhile, my lane has disappeared. Overnight, it has converged into the next one. There’s a chap waving a red flag to indicate that I should move left. I try diffidently but am met with a surge of acceleration in response. I wait, look forlorn, catch someone’s eye and hastily move in, waving a hand in gratitude.

At the office gate, the barrier remains steadfastly in its place as the parking card of the guy in front isn’t working. He waves it. He bends down and shakes it. He lowers the window and sticks it out. Nothing. He starts reversing his car. Gripped by panic, I do the same, but not much, because the chap behind me honks repeatedly.  Ah! His card has suddenly worked. The man zooms ahead. For a second I consider pushing in after him, but have a vision of the barrier crashing down on my car. So I wait and hold my card gingerly to the windshield, hoping for the best. The barrier rises gently. Happily and a little proudly, I drive in. Outside the lift, two men are smoking. I grimace and walk through the smoke.

The lift door opens and I enter, along with some dark suited corporate types, looking very serious and important. The lady next to me appears to have bathed in perfume. Some stand in silent contemplation. Others are either staring at their phone screens or tapping it with their finger-tips. Another working day is about to begin. – Khaleejnews