Tag Archives: Fear

Real Fear in the Middle East

Camel Spider MawThe 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!


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Filed under From the Sandbox

What’s scarier than the Middle East?

People who aren’t familiar with Saudi Arabia often ask me if I’m afraid to be here, if it’s not scary living in the Middle East. It’s not any scarier than being outside the Toyota Center in downtown Houston after a really bad Rockets’ game. So, no, I’m not afraid of living here. There are bigger things to be afraid of, even beyond the standards like poisonous snakes, zombies, non-poisonous snakes and overdraft charges.

I recently found out that my high school English teacher reads my column every week (online at http://www.TheSourceWeekly.com). There are few things that strike more terror in the heart of writer like me than that! I’m one big, bumbling, improperly punctuated run-on sentence fragment after another! All this time I’ve held the belief that my tens of readers never venture past the first couple of sentences before skipping over to the used car ads further back in the paper.

Now I lay awake at night knowing that there is a perfectly wonderful, retired educator out there banging her head on a table wondering where, oh where, did she go so terribly wrong! (My sincerest apologies, Miss Darling, but if I’d pursued something with numbers, like accounting, we’d have countless former math teachers on suicide watch. You understand, right?)

You know what else is scary? Snuggie blankets are scary. What kind of mind control has this company used to convince so many Americans to crawl into a fuzzy body bag that looks like a human cocoon with sleeves rather than just turning the thermostat up a couple of degrees? What if there’s a fire or you have a heart attack while wearing your snuggie? I’d be terrified to have emergency response personnel charge into my house to find me half dead in a snuggie.

Multiply that snuggie fear factor by 40 because they have snuggies for dogs, too. Making your dog wear a snuggie is an abuse prohibited under the Geneva Convention on Prisoner’s Rights. Let me be the voice for those who cannot speak: Take the snuggie off the dog.

Personally, I think drawn on eyebrows are scary in an unnaturally surprised kind of way. Pit bulls are scary; I don’t care what anyone says about them having bad press. Rutabagas are scary, because what are they really and who eats them? With all of these real fears out there, who has time to worry about the Middle East?


Filed under Much Ado About Nothing