For the GEEK in you

Monday, June 04, 2007

Marwan Is Dead.

That is all.

This blog will self destruct in 30 days.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ripped from my Chrysalis

The long hibernation is drawing to a close.

After seven long, unfulfilling years as first mate, I'm stepping down, quitting the ship that I helped build. Nary a tear in the office as I depart, but sometimes gratitude - however fleeting the sentiment - is too much to expect. No matter. Media degree in hand, I'm stepping out, raw pink, into the job market to offer myself up to the encircling sharks of this, my adopted land.

Writing my CV now - but how does one enscapsulate seven years? Not the slightest bit of media experience which a prospective employer might be interested, but goddamn if I haven't done everything else. It's almost hard to remember it all. Just think of every job that can be done in a trading company, and you'd have my unwritten-CV in a nutshell.

Office boy? Check. Did accounts for two years. Management? Check, ran the business alone on several occasions, and this year I finally achieved my dream of running a stall at GITEX solo. (Which based on my comprehensive reports, turned into a bit of a nightmare but oh well..)
Ran techical support throughout - I can safely say I'm one of the best troubleshooters in Dubai, and peerless when it comes to fixing older systems (which is oh-so-useful these days, one supposes).

Ability to work under pressure? We used to build a hundred systems in Jebel Ali for shipment the next day. Doesn't seem impressive? Let me make that live for you. The previous evening, my team would ship in all the raw components, and arrange them under my assembly line procedures, designating each builder an area of responsibility. The next day, we worked from dawn till dusk, hammering and screwing together computers till our fingers bled (not an exaggeration). But that wasn't the end of it - all the PCs had to be packed, sealed, marked and transported to the warehouse. Which for the two people was often quite the job. And of course, the next day, we had to haul the stuff out of the warehouse and into the hot sweaty container - along with ooh, the six hundred or so other boxes which made up a typical shipment.

All this is in addition to finding the time to go to Melbourne and finishing my degree in Media and Communications.

But how much is relevant to the PR/Advertising/Marketing/Car Magazine that I'd like to join? Precious little, one suspects. They want people who've been in the industry and understand the way that it works, not somebody coming from a totally different background with utterly no experience.

It's a hurdle I have no choice but to overcome.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ends And Odds+ GITEX aka A Very Special Episode, Day Seven Of Seven.

By now, I guess most of you have realised that that I put quite literally, no thought into these posts. Despite this painstaking attention to carelessness, occasionally a few things left undone, and such is it with my last couple of posts. To wit:

Re: crabby birthday blues: suffering from bouts of OCD and depression. And I don't use the word 'suffering' as lightly as do some expats; this isn't a disease or an illness where you either conk or one day, the clouds magically part in your hospital window and all is well. This is your own mind methodically constructing a prison using jagged shards of memory and paranoia as cement.

The last day of GITEX, was an absolute, unmitigated tsunami of customers. What I thought were heavy crowds on every day prior, equated to the toilet line on Friday. Jesus, Mary and That Other stoner-looking Dude from Arramatiah, that was some lineup. The aisles became a mosh pit. Conversely, we had so many extra staff on the inside of the stall that I was forced on the out, trying to grab the attention of stray passerbys.

Bottom line, we had really good sales. And then - nothing. Everybody vanished. But no matter, for that brief, halcyon moment, we had sales so tremendous it almost made the shitty thing worthwhile.

After the blitz subsided, I toured the stalls to see if there were any of those famous last minute deals. You betcha. Eager to avoid carting stock to showrooms, many dealers were chopping hundreds off their margin to raise cash. One even went so far as to stage a mock auction for notebooks, although one suspects they had quite a few ringers in the crowd to make sure they didnt lose too much - if at all.

In the central spot between the halls, one bunch was still persisting with 'karaoke' (make air quotes please, that was not singing) while the other hall, filled with teenage salespeople, had become Bluetooth Date Central.

What of God? I don't know - halfway through the evening, she disappeared, never to return. I had found my courage, too late. No matter. I've seen that face for nearly a decade, and I'm pretty sure I'll see it again. But what I have learnt from the whole debacle is that I'm still not anywhere near ready for a relationship with a real, three dimensional human being. A lot of that is maybe because I try to out think women, to predict their next move. to treat their emotions like revs on a tacho, that start in one place and proceed up to a fix. But that ain't how women are, and I need to start to ascribing to them the complexity with which I purport to credit myself.

PS: I had originally planned to publish a gallery of photographs I took during the exhibition, detailing many of the absurdities which accompany something as gonzo as GITEX. After much thought, I decided against it - there are people in those images who were neither aware they were being photographed, nor would they have been likely to consent to such a recording. So, so much for that.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Yay, Another Birthday

What a wretched day it was, twenty six years ago, the day that I was born.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

GITEX Aka What's Love Got To Do, Got To Do With IT? Day Six of Seven.

La Commedia Finale, as they say (when badly Babelfish translated). Just 24 hours to go and then I'll be done, forever and ever, with this GITEX and the entire friggin IT industry.

An uneven day. Sales were flatline by midday, but suddenly stormed back into contention by evening. By 4pm we had covered, in half a day, all of yesterday's gross. With customers flooding the place, I sent all our guys out for the quickest of lunches so we could be ready for the expected Thursday rush, which every stall had been nattering on about since the beginning.

But ma cherie, it was not to be. Over the next four hours we sold sweet fuck all. Barely a couple of grand even, and despite lots of movement hardly any inquiries. I, for reasons best left unexplained, had less than four hours of sleep last night, so till evening I was woozy as all hell. Every couple of hours I had to sneak out to the van to take some powernaps. Not that they did any good, but it was either that or fall asleep on the counter.

So we were looking forward to 9 0'clock then. Jesus, colour us surprised then, when the organisers walk up and tell us the show has been extended to midnight by popular demand. An extra three hours. Would it be the straw that broke the camel's back?

Would it, bollocks. From nine to eleven thirty we had barely *four* customers. I'm not proud to admit it, but there you go. What the heck happened? In search of answers, I moseyed down to Hall 1, and discovered a partial explanation. As it turns out, there is no exit from the expo except through Hall 2. However, the customers don't know that, and without knowing that there are two Halls, complete their shopping and try to leave, only to be directed through our butt end of nowhere.

So, all the customers we get have already done all their shopping and just want to leave. Brilliant, Trade Centre. Mind you, what should we expect from them - these guys didn't even announce the extension, so our hall was quiet as a coffin by ten thirty. Not so with Hall one, where customers were still shuffling around, picking up stuff. Gee, I'm not bitter or anything, at all.

Same deal tomorrow, as well: 3pm till midnight. Unfortunately, there's a pretty good chance that it will be a full house all the way tomorrow, so I'd better get some sleep. But not before...

Our GOD update: Well, shit. I finally made with the friendly with one of the stall lackeys. Who confirmed pretty much none of my suspicions. She's just one more hired hand, and a young one at that - 21, for pete's sake. Couldn't find out if she's really married or not, but she was moseying up real friendly like to one of the other stall hands - this real slick, oily haired grease ball. Well, at least that's the way I see him right now, who knows what he's really like.

So maybe all this time I had a shot, and I never took it because I was too tied up in old memories. They say you learn from past failures to avoid future pitfalls, but what the hell happens when all you do is live in the past, paralysed to take any action in fear of failure? What the hell becomes of you then?

Maybe it just means I'm finally growing up, ten years too late. Or that perhaps I should take a sledgehammer to this eggshell I've erected around my ego. Either way, something has to be done.

Because doing nothing is no longer an option.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

GITEX Aka The Straight Story: Days Four through Five of Seven

No, I didn't forget to write yesterday, but not a lot happened really, and I'm trying to avoid repeating myself.

Needless to say, today more than made up for it. Let's get the heavy stuff out of the way first.

First off, I made the huge mistake of abandoning my absolutely awesome parking space *right next to the entrance* in the exhibitor car park to go back to the shop and restock. Bad enough that it took one and half hours to make the round trip, but on my return a car space couldn't be had for love or money.

What incredibly shortsighted planning by the organisers, who have three huge car parks but close one off to VIPs, who never seem to show up, leaving what must be at least thousands of visitors scrounging around for a space. You want to have a cheap laugh, wander around the car park with your remote and hide in a suitable location, then whack the unlock key. Chortle with amusement as the hapless shoppers double up by your car and desperately crane their necks looking for an approaching driver. One doesn't even need to be that covert - just walk around with your keys out and prepare to be everyone's best friend.

But back to my story. Rather than circling near the entrance end of the car park like the everyone else, I decided to go in the hinterland of the other end.
Now, I'll try to relate this as fairly as possible - but pardon me if some anger creeps in.

From the outer circle, I had just turned into one of the empty inner lanes. Dawdling along in my van in second gear, the nose of a Merc appeared from behind a large van. I surged up to him, put my indicator on and waited patiently till he left to park. This is really important to know - I didn't see anyone else around. Job well done, I dismounted my really quite filthy van and turned in the direction of the exhibition center, when a white Infiniti FX35 with a tricksy looking plate and a fat VIP badge hauls up. Cue tinted window dropping, and two locals inside. The driver beckons to me.
Figuring he needs some directions or something, I walk up.
"How you came here?", he asks. Huh? I drove here from the entrance. Nonplussed, he keeps repeating the question, and I keep repeating the answer.
"You cannot come this way." What? How? I had no idea what he was talking about. He insists that I "explain how I got here."
Now, you should know, this was 3:30 in the afternoon and the sun was against me when I turned into this lane. As I turned around to see the way I came, it became obvious that I turned the wrong way down a one way lane.
Ah, Ok, I agreed. Looks like I goofed. I explained I couldn't see the faded arrows on the road in the reddish afternoon light. By this point, I was wondering who this fellow was. Copper? Nah, all of them were on the main road. CID? Here? Policing traffic? He had some sort of exhibitor badge on but I couldn't read what it said.
But he was adamant that I had made a mistake. And what's more - and here's the fucking kicker - he insisted that I remove my car from the slot as penalty. Oooh, but insisting would be a nice way of putting it. What actually happened is that he waved his finger, turned his face away and said - as you would to a dog - 'Remove your car."
Remove your car. He repeats again, in a tone that suggests he is not used to being disobeyed. He adds he was waiting in the lane for a long time - even though I never saw him - and he was saving the spot for a "friend".

Here's where intelligent Marwan and coward Marwan separate. Intelligent Marwan thinks, well, he's not a cop. It's his word against mine that I broke any rules. No witnesses. And even if I did travel the wrong way up a one way street, that hardly entitles him to my hard earned parking spot.

Ah, but coward Marwan squeaks, you have no wasta. That's a lowish plate. If he wants to start trouble, not hard for you to be the loser. And you look like a driver, not the owner of a stall. Not that that should be a crime - I'm out here doing a job like everyone else. But if he wants the spot - give it to him. That's how things work out here.

I honestly don't remember what I said next. I tried reasoning with him but to no avail. To him, I was no more than an insect. So what does one do?

I gave it to him. I pulled out and drove off. Because that's the way things work out here. Because the colour of my skin does not entitle me to a rejoinder. Maybe I don't even blame him - bullies are used to being listened to, and I capitulated like a right fairy. I think I am ashamed of myself more than anything else - ashamed of not standing up for my rights as a person, ashamed of the colour of my skin, ashamed of the way things work out here.

You know what, fuck it, there ain't anything else left to say about today. It was that shitty a day.

* GOD Updates: Christ, can I get away from this woman? Look, I'm honestly doing my best to avoid her. For the love of pete, her booth is on the opposite side of the stall from mine. And I'm usually looking the other way anyhoo. But heavens to Murgatroyd, everytime I turn my head there she is. Either she's parked at the back of her stall looking in my direction, or she's taking a break and walking past my area.

Goddamn my nerd genes. What's more, I've just realised something. Whenever she looks in my direction, I instinctively jerk my head away so there can't be any eye contact. Ok, I know why I do that, but way to go Marwan - that doesn't look suspicious or pervy at all! Aack. Fuckity Fuck Fuck. I feel like I am in a rapidly contracting Iron Maiden of my own creation. I know nothing at all about this girl, who she is, what she does, or if she even notices my bald ass at all and yet I find myself trying to hide from her at every oppurtunity.

Which wouldn't be that hard, you'd think, in a freaking EXHIBITION HALL. But nope. It's like crush zen radar - everywhere I look my eyes seem to find her. I go to my van to get stock, there she is parked on the curb talking to her friend from ShDG. Walk out of the stall to look for laptops, turn around, and she's fucking right behind me. No jokes, my heart musta moved a couple of centimeters out of place.

You're a fucking idiot, Marwan, and you're too old for this adolescent shit. If you could deal - or at the very least, communicate - with all those girlfriends before, then what is so fucking hard about this one anonymous girl? Is it that I'm just intimidated by how beautiful she is? In five days, I've never even been close enough to hear her speak.

For fucks sake, says my tired cynical half, do something or shut up already. Yeah, what, Trigger, says suddenly-sarcastic sappy romantic remainder. Open lips and let tongue do the walking, says cynic.
But what if it's the wrong thing? worries Cyrano De Marwan.

It's never the right thing. All you can be is yourself.

But what if myself isn't what good enough?

Well, then maybe it wasn't supposed to work out. But you gotta take a risk.

But she's married!

You don't know that for sure. Where's the husband? No phone calls. No overt signs of an other.

Left Freaking Hand, Genius! Hard to fuck up that analysis.

Heyyy...aren't I supposed to be the mean bastard?

Uhh, oh yeah. Anyhoo, what do I do?

T-A-L-K to her.

Easy for you to say.

Loser. Confidence is for winners.

Yeah and based on today's parking special episode, I've got real podium potential, don't I?

There you go again with the negativity.

Fuck it, nigger. Romance is dead.

Monday, November 20, 2006

GITEX aka I Wanna Be Sedated: Day Three of Seven

Marwan has a splitting fucking headache today from being exposed to 11 ELEVEN - hours of bass from the JVC car stereo truck. Not to mention everyone else who wanted to show off their fart cannon subwoofers. So there will be no update today, besides the following:
  • The pressure is ramping up quickly- and we were caught understaffed. Unrelenting waves of customers from 11AM to closing time are starting to take their toll.
  • Saw a young girl (pre adolescent) in a 'Sexy - Hot - Available' T-shirt. Sigh. The decline of humanity is surely underway.
  • Locals still leading the pack as educated consumers. Indian expats are conspicuous in their absence. I can only assume it's because money is tight.
  • Watching people play Guitar Hero isn't as fun as one might think. It's like being lightly paddled on the soles of your feet.
  • Speaking of basic torture, no God updates. I think my imagination is starting to play up, because I almost swore I saw her looking at me.

Man, I really need to get over that girl.