20 November 2007

Empty Tank of Gas

She drove into the gas station, parked by the pump, and waited. Eight gas pumps in total, manned by two people; Each handles four.

I was at the opposite pump, gas flowing into my car, watching the attendant in my rear-view. He was working hard; running around from car to car, pumping the gas, taking money, giving change, while a number of other cars queued up waiting for their black gold.

She waited a few seconds. He was still running around trying to finish serving his customers, and she saw him in her rear-view, running around. I saw her see him. She could tell he was busy, she could tell he had a number of cars to attend to, even before she parked by the pump.

But she was impatient. She was only there for a few seconds, but she didn't care. She sat in her car with her windows tinted, hiding in the dark, the princess of all. She needed to be served, and she needed to be served now. She blew her horn, three long times in succession, very loudly. Come to my service now, slave, the horn screamed.

He came running.

She opened the window and shouted at him; cursed him for not serving her in time, slacking off his job and taking things lightly.

Was he though?

He was running around, from car to car, pumping gas, taking money, getting the change.

He was working fast.

He wasn't slacking off.

But what he was, was a poor foreigner, paid a low wage, incomprehensibly low to this princess, that she didn't consider him human. Didn't consider him someone offering her a service. Didn't consider him a man leaving his country and family far away to work in her country, for her comfort.

He filled the gas. Attended to other cars while the black gold flowed to her car. And when the pump for her car stopped, and he wasn't right there to continue serving her, she blew her horn again. Once this time. But a long, deafening one. She stopped when he finally came, threw her money at him, and drove away.

After all, he was slacking. He did take his time, serving her. She was a local citizen of this country, and he wasn't. She earned real money, while he earned next to nothing. She was a real human, while he was not much more than a creature, there for her comfort.

My car tank was full; he came, took my money, and I smiled at him as I gave him a big, sincere thank you. I drove away as more cars came, and he ran around trying to serve them all as fast as he could.

For more post on slave labour, maids etc, click here


Grey said...

Well written ! something that i wanted to write ... ... but you wrote it so well ! ..

Anonymous said...

people like that REALLY irk me! they need a good slapping around to get the rudeness out!!

Coolred38 said...

I suggest they have a self service pump so those impatient for quick service can actually open the door of their ac filled black window tinted music blaring hip hop or arabic spewing gas hungry Jeep etc and serve themselves....but better yet....let the little lady sit there blaring her horn until everyone starts looking at her to try and determine what her current mental illness is...but thats just me.

KJ said...

It is a sad thing to witness my friend.

Anonymous said...

The behavior of some people in Bahrain is absolutely appalling. This post reminds of the saying "don't demand respect, command it" which is done by actions and good deeds not by cruelty and rudeness.

I am an American living here in Bahrain & I have had several encounters at the check out counter where women (presumably Bahraini) felt they were top priority and just cut in front of everyone that had been waiting in line to pay. Now the first time I stood there trying to understand what had happened, the second and third times, I had to speak up. This is uncalled for! Their money or time is not more valuable than mine nor anyone else for that matter. Now, when this happens to me, I simply ask them if they did not see the line and to please wait their turn. Usually calling someone out on their behavior straightens them up. Now if I were of Asian nationality I would probably be spit on for doing something like this but I'm not and I will use that advantage to hopefully teach these selfish people a lesson (if at all possible).

Thanks for highlighting this issue!

Moody Crab said...

You know, I saw exactly the same thing in Dubai. Emiratis (at least the ones in Dubai) are no different.

The great oil wealth and the massive development that followed have wiped out respect to/for fellow human and culture. What a shame!

As my dad would always say: I'd rather do biz with Arabs than with Europeans. Why? Cos Arabs are very respectful.

Hmmm...I wonder what he will say if he reads this....

Unknown said...

Huge deja-vu right there. A lot of people are impatient, they explode, they don't care..

Ammaro said...

grey; cool. i win.

msb; i was considering throwing something at her, but decided i might get in trouble for that.

coolred; yes, lazy spoilt brats...

kj; yes, and it happens every day unfortunately...

anon; i'm sorry you've had to witness this first hand, but like you said, do take advantage of your position. unfortunately, after so and so incidents, they might go somewhere else and do it again...

confessions; growth has turned people into animals. when you (believe you) are so high up there, you treat everything and everyone beneath you like crap.

n; true, but its not just about patience... its about respect. this is really silly.

LiB Team said...

Dumb bimbos, what would happen if the tables turned and they had to work as maids abroad? Oh, the irony. That would be poetic justice.

A.K said...

I've lived in KSA and so much for the equality Islam teach us, I've seen Saudis abusing, demeaning and looking down upon foreigners. Even the Police is biased.

Anonymous said...

oh yes, we see this all the time in our streets everywhere, not just in gas stations. but what can we do other than sit and watch?!!
About nobody in this country believes in setting a good example, so if u do it right, u do it for the sake of 'doing it right' only.

Redbelt said...

I despise people like that. We should gather them up and throw them in another island.

Coolred38 said...

How about do one of those reality tv shows in which you change positions for a week or something....see what its like to walk in someone elses shoes for awhile. Let some Bahrainis do the hard labour in the burning sun or cleaning the houses of ungrateful home owners...while some labourers get to relax under an ac...talk on their mobiles....come in late or leave or early(or both) and generally do nothing more strenuous then lifting a cup of tea.

btw I work in a building full of Bahrainis....I have lived here 20 years...I know just how lazy they can be...if you come back with the comment ..."not all of us are like that" then I will have to say...could have fooled me.

eshda3wa said...

i nearly started crying

why are people so damned mean!

Um Naief said...

there are some girls here that think they are queen bee of all queen bees. we were at mcdonald's one night and one of these type of girls behind us. she honked so many times that i felt like getting out and going back there and giving her a slap that only a step child could get....

but would it have made a difference?!

Missy said...

some ppl are just so mean. grrr! I hate them.

pooor guy :(

Anonymous said...

This behavior is not limited to Bahrain only, e.g. how Mexicans or non-white Americans are treated in some towns in the US. So using labels here is not productive.

The underlying problem is some people genuinely don't know how to live in a city environment where facilities, resources, etc. are shared. It was not taught to them growing up.

If you try to see it from their perspective, it's quite simplistic:

I have item in hand, I need to go pickup kids from school now, must pay for item first, quick jump the line.

In their mind they don't think or intend to be rude or have big egos. Keep this in mind when you try to confront, so you can make your point in an effective and polite way.


SoulSearch said...

true, very well said. I've always wanted to choke people who act that way. We need to be careful as this kind of behavior can rub on us and we end up being the dumb spoilt brat bimbo we are all bitching about...

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Maya // مايا said...

**pats your head** Good boy! :)

on ice said...

Thats very true! This type of behaviour is very much like the nouve rich that these people actually are! If western asian countries actually became rich through hard work like say Germany or Japan they would behave themselves.One only needs to go to Japan and see how polite their people are!

Western asia needs more of your kind!

Kudos to you man!