I haven’t posted anything for a long while… This had a lot to do with my situation at work and all the unnecessary stress it has been causing me. Every afternoon after coming back home I would feel completely drained and the only thing I wanted to do was to lie on the sofa and watch silly things on TV. Last week, however, I finally put my foot down and… *enter drumroll* I quit!
There’s a long and serious post I wrote about fighting for your rights in the workplace in Qatar, which I think many of you will find useful (you can find it HERE), but today, for a change, something much less serious and practical… 🙂
As a busy mom of two, I can’t imagine my life without a car.
I hate depending on others to drop me off and pick me up, and taking a taxi is too damn expensive and not a great option during a pandemic anyway. This had caused me a bit of anxiety when I returned to Doha – before leaving for Poland back in 2019 I sold my beloved red Mazda and there was no way in hell I could afford buying a decent ride on the spot. Enter: hubby’s generous business partner who suggested I borrow one of his cars. I was so grateful I didn’t even ask what kind of ride am I getting.
Turns out I was to become one of the proud users of a white Toyota Land Cruiser, possibly the most popular vehicle in the whole Middle East 😀 There are A LOT of stereotypes regarding land cruisers, and people who drive them. I was always game to making fun of them before, until I actually became one 😉 I have discovered a lot of interesting things, and can confirm that whatever you might hear is most probably true, at least to some extent… 🙂
1. People assume you’re someone else.
Let me explain – if you ask anyone living in Doha about who is supposed to be behind the wheel of a land cruiser, I can assure you that nobody would say “a fair-skinned expat female in her 30s” 😀 According to common knowledge, I should be either a middle-aged family driver with a thick mustache, or a local gentleman wearing a spotlessly white thobe and fancy leather slippers. You can imagine the surprised stares I’m getting daily!
2. Your car’s trunk becomes a mobile storage solution for literally anything!
I can tell you, a land cruiser’s trunk is more capacious than an average-sized closet. I drive around with all our beach equipment, Alexander’s stroller, and some random junk that I’m not bothered to unload, and I could still go to Ikea and bring home 10 pieces of disassembled furniture 😉 Unfortunately, things tend to get lost in there pretty much all the time (kind of like in an average lady’s handbag ;)).
3. The left lane on any highway becomes your second home.
Yesss! One of the most wonderful feelings, once I started to get used to driving a land cruiser, was being able to overtake other cars on a highway without being bullied by impatient dudes who perceive speed limits the same way that they probably perceive abstract art: without much understanding. You start to feel respected by other road users. Or feared. Feels good either way! 😀
4. You make the mistake of trying to get into someone else’s car at least once a month.
Oh the joys of driving the most popular vehicle model in the country! Bonus points if it’s white 😀 If you don’t memorize the exact spot where you left it, you have a big chance of trying to break into a random stranger’s vehicle, completely convinced that it is, in fact, yours. Sometimes you will reach a point of getting all worked up because the car remote suddenly “stopped working”, and “your” car won’t open! 😀 Or get totally confused by a complete stranger sitting in a driver’s seat!
5. Parking becomes a nightmare… Until it doesn’t!
Suddenly, all parking spots seem too narrow/short/tiny in general, and even if you fit in, you’re not able to open the door properly and end up squeezing yourself out of your car in a very undignified way, sometimes getting stuck in the process. Plus, the nasty towing hook at the back of the car seems to always magically hit every wall/pole/fence that happens to be behind you when you attempt reverse parking… On the other hand – that amazing feeling when you manage to parallel park this big-ass vehicle for the very first time, without a need to correct it! You feel like such an achiever 😀
6. You kind of feel obliged to bully people on the road 😀
Like, seriously, this is what most land cruiser drivers do and once you drive one, you subconsciously adopt the mentality of this mean, self-entitled and inconsiderate person! I try to be nice and all, but damn it’s hard! I have to stop myself every day from tailgating others only because they are 5km/h below the speed limit, on the fast lane. On a positive note, most left-lane turtles bugger off when they see me approaching long before I even think about flashing those headlights 😉
7. Driving any other car feels extremely weird!
Suddenly, they all seem so tiny in comparison! Recently, I drove hubby’s car and felt super uncomfortable. It’s an SUV, but I felt like I could hardly fit inside! With the older kid in tow, tones of grocery, all my spare shoes and jackets, etc. Also, my immunity to being bullied was suddenly gone and I had to put up with other entitled land cruiser owners trying to push me off the road 😉
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