For the GEEK in you

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The World Wide Web

It's time for a midnight snack, so I jump in the car and motor off to my local Burger King (which is called Hungry Jack's - apparently, someone else had the name trademarked). Here's some random observations.

  • No middle aged man flipping burgers here, everyone's a uni student or a part time high schooler. Consequently, standards are a bit lax but at least there's some youthful enthusiasm. Unlike Dubai, where the staff seem perplexed by their own products.
  • Aaand of course, most of those burger flippers are Indian. These are the ones who haven't graduated to driving cabs yet. Ambition, thy hunger be forever unfulfilled.
  • It's a bit of tradition, for clubbers and barhoppers to stop before/after a session for a 'Jack Attack' (so called because the greasy burgers are utterly satiating and form the perfect absorptive base for alcohol). Wednesday night and it's almost full, at nearly 1AM.
  • Not so different from Dubai, which is also open all hours? Ok, the two Aussie girls in front are in clubber dresses, but absolutely covered in dirt. One can only guess they had a bad fall moments early. They're also pissed, but I just can't get over how filthy they are.
  • Behind them is what can only be termed the 'Chinese nerd couple'. Nerdy girl and her shorter bespactled, attache-carrying boyfriend, whom she keeps pestering to choose the food. The man doesn't seem to be able to speak, smothered as he is in luurve.
  • To my right, three emo kids/skate punks, in full gear. They've got the ear spikes and the studded belts and the hair so charcoal black you could use their heads as pencils. They stand out as much as circus clowns would on Shk Zayed Rd.
  • Head of the line? Irate Americans, specifying the exact DNA of their burgers, from lettuce leaves to number of tomatoes.
  • Back of the line? Sudani taxi driver, nipping in for a quick grilled chicken with fries.
  • And to complete the set, in walks a man dressed in nothing more than a bathrobe and slippers. Apparently, he's come from a pajama party.
This is a relatively normal night. But you never really know what to expect at Jacks. Sometimes people bring the boozing right in with them. There's the occasional fight. Lovers occasionally finish their arguments and break up here. Quite a bit of flirtation, and definitely some hanky panky in the washroom. Mind you, only in Australia would they ban access to the washroom "because of finding too many needles/people humping there". I kid you not, if you need to use the loo, you'll first have to get a chaperone from the staff.

It almost seems to be some sort of ritual meeting ground for the youth of today, like town halls of yesteryear. As night falls, they are drawn here, in their poorly fitting clothes and their doof-doof cars. Youth, that congregate inside a soulless multinational food chain and turn it to a bawdy pub with their antics. Almost functions as some sort of reclamation, or repackaging to create a group culture.

Damn sight better than Dubai, where the dominant form is sitting outside to breathe in a glorious, heady mix of concrete dust and diesel. And even the people sitting outside are all much of a muchness. At least here, people look quite different from each other, even if it's not socially acceptable. You'll experience a complete spread of humanity, simply by buying a burger.

Rather makes a mockery of Dubai's claim of being a 'melting pot'. Conformity is our watchword.


Blogger Katib said...

A dream is always a dream unless one wakes up and makes it real!

'Melting pot' is the dream - more like Rice Pot where the water is absorbed by the White Rice and drained out - with no use for the water now.

12:08 PM  

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