Sunday, August 07, 2011

These Quasi-Feudal Relationships are Confusing

After receiving this morning's ice*, the guards informed me through a series of hand gestures and disparaging glances at the ankle-high grass that they were going to mow the lawn. "Oh, you don't have to do that," I stammered lamely. It was as a red-blooded American that I had refused to hire a gardener -- I was going to mow my own lawn, thank you very much, and probably grow a corn field to boot. You know, eventually. When the weather got cooler.

I don't know why I ever bother arguing with them; they hugely outnumber me, and anyway, they have bigger hands so their gestures are a lot louder. I watched, powerless, as the pushmower was dutifully maneuvered around the lawn and a pair of kitchen scissors was applied to the tall grass around the curb edges. I'm pretty sure it's considered socially beneath them to be doing yardwork, but apparently it's an even worse affront for them to allow ME to do yardwork. The most they would permit me was to hold the bag while they stuffed it full of grass clippings. An attempt to pull up a stray weed was met with stern outcry.

Occasionally I have the sneaking suspicion that they're imposing some sort of weird purdah on me. But the lawn does look a lot better.


*They're fasting, but still collect the ice in the morning and just keep it in a cooler until the iftar. "Madam is sometimes home late," was their reasoning.

5 comments:

nnzan said...

such a nice day we have in a consulate and the credit goes to u kathrien

Umar said...

I agree u made our day

Heather said...

My driver/gardener doesn't understand (even in my flawless Nepali) that I enjoy doing some gardening as a hobby and it's not an insult to him. I've given up and now I just prune my roses in secret on his day off.

Katie said...

Thanks, guys -- I really enjoyed talking to you as well.

I wonder if I could grow roses here. I have a feeling the guards would take good care of them.

nnzan said...

thank you katie.......
we also have a wonderfull time with u in the consulate
and one more thing u not need to worry about your roses.......