June 29, 2010
He Put a Hat on my Head
My daughter sat in the backseat of my car and cried out: "Where is my snack?"
I had forgotten to provide my five year old with a snack before her Arabic class. I quickly took the exit off Shaikh Zayed Road and found a gas station. I thought it would be simple, that I would run in to the little mart, buy some Orio cookies and we could go on with our day. I didn't even need gas. Just Orios and a bottle of water.
At the gas station, I looked for a place to park in front of the store. At that moment, a black hummer decided to back out as though he owned the gas station, quickly and furiously, and bang, he ran striaght into my left side mirror and the entire left side of my Touareg. Without a moment's notice, I took a photo of the Hummer's license plate with my blackberry's camera. I also took a good look at the driver's face and demeanor and commited them to memory. He'd been talking on the phone, a blackberry no less, and within seconds he was gone.
I was the victim of a hit and run!
I called my father and the police to the rescue. We were told to head to the police station to file a claim for the accident and they seemed pleased that we'd taken his license plate number. At the police station, they informed us that the driver had also called in, and was on his way. He had left because of a sudden emergency. My father, who had not been witness to the situation, and I, waited patiently.
Finally, a man I had never seen before walked in toward us. He was dressed in a dishdash. He presented his apologies but left me confused. Granted accidents happen so quickly and the driver had escaped but I didn't recognize him at all. I told my father. I told the police.
"He wasn't wearing a dishdash!
"I went home and changed", was his answer.
"He was talking on a blackberry. This man is holding a normal phone." I replied.
Everyone laughed. I was identifying him with accessories.
But I remained serious.
I blurted: "He was also heavier."
The man began showing signs of anxiety at that point. The police was listening to me more closely.
In Farsi, the situation translates literally as "he put a hat on my head" (kola ruyeh sarram gozosht) which means he was deceiving me. I had a con artist trying to push his clout and gender advantage over me. He also had believed that I probably wouldn't have been able to differentiate between two Arabs. It turns out that he was the owner of the car and his friend had driven it, backing in to me at the gas station, and he didn't have a valid driving license.
"Taxi drivers" like myself are bound to have these encounters. The story ended with the culprit, his friend, as chubby as I'd remembered him to be, walking in and signing the papers, finally admitting to his culpability.