Flooding In The Desert


I’m in a state of discombobulation. I was up until 2am last night trying to finish an assignment. I have one final paragraph to write which is why Ive just spent two hours in a coffee shop talking to a friend about death, children, study and plane crashes. I can be certain of receiving a high distinction when it comes to procrastination – it’s a gift. It has been one of those mornings, sleep deprivation provides me with many of the same symptoms as a hangover. I’m dehydrated, hungry, and lethargic. My eyes are experiencing a burn that seems to be located somewhere near the back of my retina and the front of my brain. And nothing looks quite the same. It’s a strange day. Doha is flooding, it’s not providing its usual desert experience.

It began last night. Big fat drops of rain sprinkled the back patio, taking aim at the outdoor furniture. I heard the unmistakable pitter patter of water bouncing off canvas. Listening to the rain while laying in bed is a maybe a yearly event if you’re lucky, it doesn’t happen often. This morning the children raced outside to get their feet wet. “Do you think the puddles will still be here when we come home from school?” Next time I tell them they’re spoilt I’ll remember that there is something, one thing, they miss out on. No mud cakes of the dirt variety, no mud slides or riding bikes through the unknown depth of a gigantic puddle.

I raced to kickboxing to find a leaking ceiling, a frazzled instructor, and about 15 more women than usual. We stood shoulder to shoulder avoiding the drops while trying to remain friends. “Watch out!” someone was nearly lassoed by a skipping rope. Someone else slipped, there just wasn’t enough room. “Okay ladies, we’re going to stop – this is too dangerous. It’s just been a crazy morning”.

On the way home from school I’d seen a man standing by his truck, it had somehow jackknifed. The traffic slowed as people changed lanes, his morning disaster was making people late for work. They stared as they drove past. He looked towards the sky, I imagined this wasn’t in his plans. I stopped to see if he had a phone, if help was on the way. “Yes, yes, phone, I have, shukran.” Two hours later when I drove past again the police were there, a crane was now involved as it lifted the back of the truck into position. The man continued to look at the sky.

The worms have come out of the ground, they’re swimming in the street. They don’t make any sense anymore. A girlfriend told me this morning that she’d be on a plane in very bad turbulence with her children. One chid was seated next to her fast asleep, the other two were in the seats in front, both of them frozen with fear. She reached through the seats in front of her to hold their hands “it was truly terrifying, like the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced, the woman behind me was praying out loud, the plane was rocking, jumping.” Her son who is in Grade 2 yelled out to no-one in particular “Are we going to die today?” We both laughed as the words came from her mouth, not in hilarity, but in the ridiculousness of the situation that we find ourselves in as parents.

“Was he asking you? Or was he just asking anyone?”

“Anyone, he was just kind of yelling it out to everyone on the plane. ‘Are we going to die today’?”

It hasn’t left my mind since she told me. A child with a question that most adults refuse to contemplate. Is this it. Is today the day. Is this the day my truck jackknifes. Is this the day?

“Are we going to die today?”

It’s been the strangest morning. The worms are swimming. They don’t make any sense.

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