The First Time

Today was a long day. I stayed late at work for the second day in a row. Back in Houma, staying late was never a worth mentioning and certainly very routine. Here in Qatar, staying late requires a lot of planning and logistics. I have to have the shop foreman arrange a driver to take me home. He also has to arrange for operators to stay later with me. These events do not always happen, as seen tonight.

Eleanor Roosevelt and myself are embarking on an open hole project. She is a trainee from Columbia. She will be going through her break out job, while I will also be doing a “break out” of sorts on the new services I have to run. We had much preparing to do. At the end of the night, we looked up to see that we did not have an assigned ride home.

An operator kindly volunteered to drive us back to our apartments. He stopped by a gas station for us to grab some food before going home for the night. Eleanor walked to the sandwich counter in the back, while I lingered beside the glowing Dunkin Donuts cabinet. We each picked a small sandwhich and a donut. Standing in the middle of the gas station, Eleanor and I unabashedly ate our donuts without even paying first.

A local Qatari man stood behind us watching the gluttonous acts. He commented, “I don’t know how you can eat a donut.” He made a face. “Too sweet. I can’t even watch you.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but I’m enjoying this.” Eleanor replied quickly.  We  then waited for the gas station attendant to ring up our dinners. The Qatari man handed the attendant his credit card and insisted he ring up our purchase.

Thinking that was very nice of him… we walked out and to the car. “Sit, sit, sit, sit!!” our operator ordered as he drove the car away. We asked him what just happened.

“Qatari people just do that sometimes. If this guy was decent, he wouldn’t be at the gas station.”  Moral of the story: Decent people don’t go to gas stations. Also, Qatari people like to pay for things.

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