You know you’ve been in the Middle East far too long when…

You’re not surprised to see a goat in the passenger seat
You think the uncut version of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ is provocative
You think every one’s first name is Al
You need a sweater when it’s 40 degrees celsius
You expect everyone to own a mobile phone
Your idea of housework is leaving a list for the houseboy
You believe that speed limits are only advisory
You expect all police to drive BMWs or Merc’s
You know whether you are within missile range of Iran
You believe that the definition of a nanosecond is the time interval between the time the light turns green and the time that the guy behind you begins to blow his horn
You can’t buy anything without asking for a discount
You expect all stores to stay open till midnight
You understand that ‘wadi bashing’ isn’t a criminal act
You make left turns from the far right lane
You send friends a map instead of your address
You understand why huge 4x4s must slow down to a snail’s pace whilst crossing a speed bump yet hurtle through a wadi at 100kph
You think that ‘Howareyou’ is one word. So is ‘Mamsir’
You think it perfectly normal to have a picnic in the middle of a round-about at 11pm
You know exactly how much alcohol allowance you have left for the month
You have a moon phase predictor on your computer
You never say Saturday instead of Friday or Sunday instead of Saturday anymore
You accept that there is no point in asking why you are not allowed to do something
You expect queues to be 1 person deep and 40 people wide
You realise that the black and white stripes in the road are not a zebra crossing, just bait to get tourists into the firing line
Seeing guys welcome each other with a kiss and hold hands while walking no longer distracts you
You carry 12 passport size photos around with you just in case
You can tell the time by listening to the local mosque
You think its a good night if there are fewer than 10 men for every woman in a bar
Phrases like ‘potato peeler’, ‘dish washer’, ‘coffee maker’ and ‘fly swatter’ are no longer household items but are actually job titles
You start to say ‘Insha’allah’ when you actually mean ‘Never!’
Habibi isn’t just the ex-president of Indonesia
You overtake a police car at 130KM/HRA
Problem with your car AC or horn is more serious to you than a problem with the brakes

Jeremiah Josey


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