In an old episode of The Simpsons (parodying the Freemasons) Homer joins a secretive organisation which entitles him to certain privileges. One of these is access to a lavish secret tunnel, allowing Homer a relaxing, rush-hour traffic-avoiding drive to the office. Of course, the tunnel guides him comfortably to his parking space, which is just over the fence from his house.
I was reminded of that scene when I realised that for about a year I’ve been doing something similar.
Ok. So, the local mall is just 400 meters (a quarter mile) from my house, which is handy. It’s the nation’s biggest mall actually – information which when passed to visitors from most other countries is not unlikely to be met with surprised laughter, then, ‘…awww, it’s cute!’
Anyway, about a year ago construction commenced on the mall’s latest expansion project and the rear car park (nearest my house) was closed. Recently I calculated that my now-habitual drive around the mall to the front entrance, and into the new multilevel car park is 1,900 meters (over a mile), several times the actual distance from home. I chuckled at this snippet of personal trivia as I got out of my car. Then I looked across the covered car park, and the other one, to the side entrance of the mall. Inner face-palm. I checked the pedometer app on my phone (I’ve been tracking my sedentariness lately) and headed inside. My suspicions were correct.
After a one-mile drive, the distance from my car to the place I pay my bills, is further than from there to my house. I’ve been doing this for a year, and simply hadn’t noticed. Of course, this revelation was still just trivia, as I have no intention of changing my routine. Anyone who lives in this part of the world will understand.
If you’re an expat thinking of making the move to the middle east (a lot of people are)… you’ll be wanting a car. It’s funny what you’ll do, in the searing desert, to avoid a couple of minutes walking in the sunshine.