The most popular question I get asked about living in the Middle East is: Aren’t you afraid being over there?! Well, yes, I’m afraid! But it isn’t because there are lunatics in the country next door committing barbaric crimes of inhumanity. I mean, yes, that’s terrifying regardless of where you live, but that isn’t what scares the bajeebers out of me here. I have more immediate terrors.
Living where I do, I’m afraid of things like scorpions and camel spiders. I think they’re called camel spiders because they’re so big, they actually hunt and eat camels. Whole. Without chewing. If you think I’m exaggerating, Google them. In my opinion, spiders should never be larger than the shoe that squashes them. They should not be able to put on four pairs of your husband’s shoes and wear them out.
I’m afraid of driving. Not that I can drive, so let me clarify: I’m afraid to be in a car on the roads here. I’m more likely to be killed by some maniac driver behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia than I am by a member of ISIS or ISIL or ISwhatever. These are people who take the term “freeway” literally, as in “free to drive in whatever ridiculously unsafe, unpredictable, unharnessed way I want.” I had never considered the dashboard when looking for places to set down my newborn while driving 100+ mph on the left shoulder, but okay. Maybe there’s not a word for “projectile” in the Arabic language.
I’m probably more afraid of heat stroke than I am of terrorists. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to find my favorite cereal at the grocery store, even if it’s $8.37 and expiring in two months. I’m afraid of the five pounds I put on every single time I go back to the US because I’ve been deprived of those chocolate chip cookies at Chick-fil-A for so long that I lose my ability to reason and start justifying buying them by the dozen. I’m afraid they’ll close the gym where I live and I’ll be stuck with those five pounds forever.
Otherwise, I’m pretty safe where I am. Watching the news, sometimes I think I’m actually safer here. The world can be a scary place anymore. And camel spiders certainly aren’t making it any easier to sleep at night!