For several days now I’ve had the same headache; a terrible pounding behind my eyes. I always wake up with it, and though I want to start the day right — breakfast, work, shower, Jeopardy on tv — I find myself staying much longer in bed than usual, holding my head and willing the pain to stop. This sometimes happens, during certain periods I think, but I have yet to find the source of these mysterious immobilizing headache incidents.
Still, I forced myself to go to City Center yesterday, the mall closest to where I live. I figured I’d need a change of environment. And what a mistake that was. Some radar probably picked up that I was heading there, so all of Doha decided to join me and stink up the whole parking lot as well – I spent 20 minutes circling the place.
Now if only City Center had a decent bookstore, like Villagio’s Virgin Megastore, then it would be a great place to hang out. But City Center is a huge building filled with nothing interesting at all.
I shot down the idea of a movie, of going to Carrefour, of looking for a bag. I have this huge yellow bag I bought last year; it’s so huge, you could fit your cat and its litter of nine in it and still have some space for spare car parts. A neighbor of mine commented on it last week. “Your bag is huge, I always see you with it, what do you put in it?” So, self-consciously I thought of downgrading to a smaller one. Julien shakes his head each time he borrows a pen or asks for a piece of paper; I can spend hours digging in that bag for the said items.
Finally I decided to sit in this ridiculous café with swings hanging from the ceiling, next to the cinema. When the waiter approached, he asked me for my order, and I told him I wanted a lemon mint iced tea. Normally, a waiter should nod his head and place the order. Instead, he stood around and asked me if and where I had ordered this alleged drink in the past. I couldn’t believe my ears, so I asked him to repeat the question. “Have you ordered this drink elsewhere, ma’am? And where?” What was this, a quiz? An inquisition? I almost expected the Gestapo to jump out from the kitchen and start going thru my bag for old restaurant receipts (I’d bet you they’d find millions of them, in my bag). So I told him that I’d ordered it before, in some other restaurant, waving my hand vaguely in that universal sign for somewhere else. I mean, really. Ordering lemon mint iced tea is becoming a serious business in Doha.
When I had finished my drink I made a tour of the food center, hoping that seeing all that cholesterol-laden food would jog my appetite. But it did nothing for me, so I dejectedly took the escalators to the first floor. There was a child crying his head off in front of me, his mother looking pointedly away, trying to ignore the source of what was shattering our eardrums.
Going home wasn’t a joy either. There was a lot of traffic and this Land Cruiser kept at my tail, blinking his lights and annoying the hell out of me, urging me to go faster while in traffic. The laws of nature don’t mean a thing to certain people. The trip wasn’t a total waste though. Somewhere during my aimless wandering around that place, I went to Carrefour and bought a can of Enchilada sauce.
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