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Dueling Drivers……….

April 30, 2009

I know many of you roll your eyes when I talk about my “staff” woes. I completely realize that it really is hard to understand how “un”helpful help can be. You lose a lot of your independence and that’s not always fun. But sometimes it is funny. Sometimes in India I have to remember that as long as it ends up as a funny story later, I should laugh about it now.

Let me ‘splain…

As you might recall, our driver is a good driver. We are happy enough with him. He is reliable and kind. Sometimes communication with him is not easy, but most of the time he gets it pretty well. I have learned that whenever we are going in a caravan that I must get the other drivers phone numbers – just in case. That has proven to be very helpful and wise.

Things have been good enough. Until yesterday. Yesterday, I called him and told him I was on my way out of the school. He said, “Yes, ma’am, I am coming.” That’s what he always says and he always comes.

Until yesterday. I sat for about 10 minutes – yes, in the 110 degree heat – and then I called him back. No answer.

Houston, we have a problem.

I called again at 15 minutes. You got it. Still no answer. Now I am worried. It’s really not like him.

I want to worry about my driver like I want a root canal. Really, it’s just not on my list of priorities.

So, I call hubby. Who calls our driver. No answer.

Hubby calls his assistant. Hubby’s assistant calls our driver. No answer.

Yes, it was like beating our head against the wall – a wall with very long nails that have been waiting  in the 110 degree heat. Yes, that would hurt.  I know someone brilliant once said that repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting a different result is foolish.

Call us foolish. It’s like a bad joke – how many expats does it take to call a driver?

I called our driver again. What do you think the odds are that there was NO ANSWER?

Hubby sends another car. It’s going to take 45 minutes to get to me. Yeah, that’s a long time. Yes, it was super duper hot outside. Yes, I had to pee. Yes, I should have taken a cab. Something about being dependent on others makes you forget temporarily how to think in a straight line. Plus I am now really worried about our driver. I want to be sure he is okay.

AUGH.

As I sit waiting for driver number 2, driver number 1 shows up in a rickshaw. WTH?

It seems he locked his keys in the car – and his phone. WTH?

I wondered the same thing – yes, he answered the phone and told me he was coming. AND THEN he locked his keys in the car AND his phone. Seriously, WTH?

Upon further investigation interrogation, we learned that he was sleeping on the passenger side. I called and woke him up. He answered the phone. He got out of the car to get in the drivers seat and WALAHHHHHHHHH. Okay then.

Then he tried for 25 minutes to get into the car – while he knew I was waiting. He was literally around the corner trying for 25 minutes to open the door. When he ultimately accepted that he was not going to be able to get the door open without a key or call me without a phone, he caught a rickshaw to come give me an update. Yes, I suppose that was very kind of him.

Do you see how having a driver is like having a teenager? Did you see why it’s not all butterflies and unicorns dancing on rainbows?

Oh, and yes, it gets better. You knew it would.

Now our driver and I are waiting together outside in the heat. He feels terrible. I am not happy – glad that he is okay – but not really happy – but trying not to act like a biotch, because really  these things can happen. I cannot make small talk with him because (A) I don’t want to and (B) I don’t speak Hindi. It was like two divorced parents waiting to congratulate their kid for getting the Nobel Prize. All smiles on the outside – but not exactly happy, happy to be standing next to each other waiting.

So, driver number 2 (finally) comes. Driver number 1 gets in the front seat. I get in the back seat. We are going to my house to wait for a second set of keys to be delivered. It’s going to take about 2 hours. Fine.

All the way home I hear blah, blah, blah Ma’am (that’s me) – blah blah blah Saab (that’s hubby) – blah blah blah mobile (that’s how you say cell phone here).

That’s how it went the whole way home – ma’am – saab – mobile – ma’am – saab – mobile – ma’am – saab – mobile. AUGH!

Hey dudes, can you use that little device right in front of you? It’s called a rear view mirror and it lets you see what is behind you. That would be me. I don’t speak Hindi but I know what Saab and Ma’am mean. I know you are talking about me. STOP IT.

I remembered that I needed to get some cash. So, I asked driver 2 to stop at the ATM machine.

We stop at the ATM and now, ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a ballgame. Driver number 1 and driver number 2 are trying to see who is going to get to my door first to open it for me. They are like two kindergartners trying to be first in line for free ice cream and lizards.

While they are busy trying to out open each other, I turn slightly to the left and open my own friggin’ door. I have not completely forgotten how to take care of that for myself. And alas, I will need this simple skill in just a few weeks when I am left to my own devices in the U.S.

I went to the ATM and get money. Then back to the car. They’re at it again. Me first. No me first.

Seriously – I got it. It’s just a door – I can handle it. (get it?  “handle” it? door handle. hee hee)

And although, waiting in the 110 degree heat wasn’t that funny – and worrying about our driver is not what I would have picked to do – I can now see the humor in this. It has become a funny story.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2009 11:39 pm

    Hon, you lost me at 110 degrees. That’s just not right!!!

  2. April 30, 2009 9:48 pm

    Naomi – put your seatbelt on – hee hee

    Deep – what a life indeed

    M – Oh, I did too, he is afraid of his own shadow – honestly, I am pretty easy to work for – really I am – I rarely get upset, in fact this is only the second time – the first was when he took me all down side roads to get to Guragon and it took over an hour to get there – and even then I never yelled – I just said “main roads please”. He probably didn’t sleep for days. But I have three kids and a hubby – I have enough to worry about! 😎 I truly wasn’t even mad that he locked the keys in the car – I have done it myself – but the fact that he was a 3-minute walk away and he knew I was waiting in the heat – it was frustrating – he was probably scared to death to tell me – but eventually I was going to find out something wasn’t right. 😎 And I did not yell at him. I just told him not to wait next time.

    Oma – it really wasn’t that great! I was so tired and hot and really unamused. 😉 We miss you bunches and when we get back I will fight to open the car door for you!

    Nancy, sweet Nancy – yes, that little memory was not lost on me – I know it can happen because it did happen. 😎 I miss you!

    Bindu – it wasn’t really scary – just frustrating – it’s hot as heck here! 😎

    Deewane – yes, the heat makes it worse – for sure!

    Cassandra – welcome – India is great

  3. Casandra permalink
    April 30, 2009 5:26 pm

    I just so happened to stumble upon this website and noticed it was about India, so I proceeded to read. This made my day. Seriously. I can’t even picture myself in your position and writing about it in a “comedy” way. I’d be full of panic and not even thinking about laughing. You are one brave woman. You should definitely become an author. You tell such outstanding stories. I’m surprised you have not written a book yet, or have you?

    By the way, how is India? I’m only 15 and have not yet experienced the “real deal.” I’m obsessed with India and Indians. You are lucky, but India does have its unlucky days, huh? Well, I hope to hear more about your life. I will be continuing to visit your website. Thanks for posting this story. It cheered me up.

  4. deewane permalink
    April 30, 2009 11:14 am

    ROFLOL! The 110 degree sun is what makes everything 10 times worse (well obviously, since it means that you are not just waiting, but being roated alive while waiting!), but yeah it does sound funny and that’s why you should write a book 🙂

  5. bindu permalink
    April 30, 2009 10:15 am

    You have the skill to turn scary stories into funny stories. No wonder you made so much progress in such little time and everyone is asking you to write a book or something.You go girl!

  6. Nancy permalink
    April 30, 2009 10:13 am

    I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to lose your independence and rely on someone else to get you where you need to go ALL THE TIME. However, I do seem to recall a little “key incident” with a certain expat–JK…..just think of it as YOU locking your keys in the car and waiting for AAA to come. I know…not the same thing. Counting the days till we are sitting around the pool together.

  7. Oma permalink
    April 30, 2009 9:08 am

    Having two men fight to open my car door hasn’t happen in years or maybe never… if I remember right…senior moment….. again another fun and and well told story…

    Oma

  8. April 30, 2009 8:41 am

    LOL…obviously we’re coming at this from different ends, but I feel for the driver (driver 1) as well….he was probably worried stiff that he’d lose his job over this, or driver 2 may have been telling him that he’s in deep trouble now because *everyone* tried to reach him multiple times…..and really, like you said, these things happen. (I locked myself out and toddler-in-car-seat in the car, in the carpool line at school – *that* was fun :-))

    M

  9. April 30, 2009 7:02 am

    ROFL!!! This is just too weird!!! What a life!!!

  10. April 30, 2009 6:18 am

    Oy – I heard about the heat … and I ‘get’ the frustration with staff. Not there to experience it yet, but I think I at least understand where you’re coming from!

    Don’t be thinking anyone is going to open the doors for you when you come back stateside!

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