Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gardener

Dubai has been under several inches of water the last few days. Feet, in some places. Oh, it happens just about every year, and it really isn’t all that much rain, but when the Powers That Be do not see fit to dredge the sand out of the road drainage system during the dry season (or a least keep the curbside drainage covers rotated so that sand doesn’t blow into and fill them all year), everything gets soaked and flooded when it rains. And it's not just the roads. A new shopping mall has had a roof collapse, and I’ve been told that a fairly new building of my acquaintance again has foul water seeping through the ceilings and running down the inside of the walls… I seem to recall the same problems with leaks in that roof last year around this time. Poor planning, materials and construction, anyone? So we’ve had two days of swimming pools all over town. And not pleasant ones, either. Apparently in the Greens Community, ground-floor dwellers are up to their ankles in backed-up sewage in their own living rooms. Of course, that’s not the city’s problem. According to the local rag, the Greens is private property and therefore a private problem. And people keep asking me why I don’t buy property in this country.

My own little patch of Dubai has been impassable in anything but a 4x4 until this morning. I had to take a friend to the hospital for surgery at the crack of dawn Tuesday and did manage to get her there, but just. It took forever to traverse the roads home during the rush hour, of course, since people here seem to be totally incapable of dealing with rain on the roads (oh,wait – aren’t most of the drivers in this town from the Indian subcontinent? Do they stay at home during monsoons? And don’t tell me it never rains in England (US/EU/AU/CN/NZ/SA) either). By the time I finally did get home, Mirdif was completely awash and my little sports car had to retire from service. It only got into the driveway via the not-yet-swamped sidewalk. Good thing it's a broad sidewalk.

So loads of people have not been at work, including the man who takes care of my garden, whom I have been trying to get rid of for some time. Fair enough him not being here this week – my garden has been six inches under water, and the succulents have begun to rot in the damp. Not much for him to do this week, since what he mainly does is water the bougainvillea and rake the dust.

No, we’re cutting him loose because manages to kill plants with some regularity. He is also uninterested in washing the cars (for which I'm happy to pay extra), feels that the brick path “is not garden” and therefore does not need to be swept or tidied of fallen leaves or pigeon poo, and I think he thinks the rampant weeds look “pretty and green”. I confess I did not really want to have to fire him. He (or rather his brother's firm) had come recommended by a friend. I thought he needed a chance, and I had hoped at first that a few hints and instructions--whenever I could find him to talk to -- would sort him out. Of course, conversations that go:

"Why have you left that plant to grow out of the middle of that aloe vera?"
"Oh very good plant, madam! Smells nice!"
"Ah, yes. It's basil. Then shouldn’t you dig it up and move it out of the cactuses? And surely it will die in the direct sunlight."
"No,no. Nice plant."

should have given even me a clue that this was not the gardener for us. Still, I hated to put the man out of a job. But the Goat (who has less tolerance (or is less of a wuss) than I) finally got totally fed up found another man who would do what we wanted done, so that was that. Since I’m the one likely to be here when the gardener comes for his ten minutes a day, the job of getting rid of him fell to me. And I’ve been dreading it. I hate confrontation, and always want to give people the benefit of the doubt and as much help and time as they need to straighten themselves out. Somehow "it just isn't working out" doesn't seem a good enough reason to fire someone. I know, I know. Others in my place might rant and scream and hurl abuse, so "I'm sorry, but" is mild. Still.

I was wondering just how I was going to put it when and if I ever managed to catch him in person, when I heard a sneeze in the back garden around 8:30 this morning. Ah! The gardener! I went out to do the deed and pay him out the month, trying to think of a kind and gentle way of letting him go as I waded through the last of the puddles.

The man was actually watering the cactuses. Firing him was surprisingly easy.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

That level of incompetence is pretty scary.

Shoddy construction? In Dubai? No, say it ain't so! /sarcasm

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TM was feeling apologetic about your "raising". However, the tag line brings a great "atta girl"
TM

2:33 AM  
Blogger dubaibilly said...

Cyn, that is one of the best last lines I've read on blogger! Perfect timing, gal.

9:04 PM  
Blogger MamaDuck said...

Oh Oh Monsoonio.... Hello Missis! I'm kind of working up to doing communication again. (I know, don't hold your breath, but I mean well.) Love you lots, even though you need to be psychic to be sure.

2:24 AM  
Blogger Mars said...

hehe...that was too easy...

1:23 AM  

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