How awesome, to think that after such a short time I have found something gainful to do during the mornings, or should I really say am quite astonished that anybody should want to hire me as their Secretary or even imagine that I might be an asset in their Office. Maybe, they had just experienced a monumental lapse of judgment because I couldn’t really have been the best of the bunch or could I?
My new found Boss and I quickly came to an understanding which was definitely fortuitous for me otherwise I wouldn’t have lasted a minute, why was that you may be asking. Well I suppose it can be attributed to ‘sod’s law’, after having endured four months of what can only be described as intense boredom living in this desert wilderness, wondering just what I had done to find myself in this position my life seemed to have done an about turn, I was actually gainfully occupied and not twiddling my thumbs.
Mike and I had suddenly found ourselves catapulted onto the Cocktail Party circuit where I also found my Boss, this turned out to be a very merry, merry go round the likes of which was enough to addle the brain and on occasions render one a little unsteady on the feet. As I now had to be on parade at 8.O’Clock every morning bright eyes and bushy tailed behind my typewriter, there was no time for a lie in. My life had suddenly taken off like a proverbial rocket, what direction it was going in was a matter to be determined at a later date, suffice to say myself and I were on the move!!Why were these invitations arriving on the proverbial doormat thick and fast, was it because the summer recess was deemed to be over and it was necessary to fly the flag on behalf of ‘your’ company.
Let me explain, in those days in Dubai the only way to become acquainted with people operating in the business community was to meet them at social gatherings. These ‘parties’ also enabled the attendees to quietly size up the opposition from a business point of view and possibly more importantly to check out who was new in town and who you thought looked like a jolly couple who would help to keep what was a very hectic social scene proceeding full steam ahead with vim and vigor.
I know you will be thinking that the heat obviously takes its toll on everyone sooner rather than later, maybe but not quiet. Other than social gatherings there was no other way of meeting people as in those days there were no clubs, bars or pubs where one could socialize, or just pass the time of day over a ‘pint’.
How then was the guest lists drawn up, in fact, all British companies and possibly a few non British were registered at the Political Agency, together with a list of names of their Expatriate personnel? In those days Dubai was a Protectorate, part of the Trucial Oman States, hence it having a Political Agency and not an Embassy and it was here that the dreaded lists of Number One’s were correlated. You will wonder just what I am on about; well it was very necessary to grasp the great mystery of just how a list of guests for a said cocktail party was drawn up. Obviously I had no idea as to why an invitation would come winging in from one particular Company and not another but these gatherings were all about making useful business contacts and being able to put a face to a name, yes, it was networking Dubai style. A tried and tested well oiled machine.
I was soon to discover, quite brutally, it must be said as to how all this worked. One day a chum phoned, yes we now had a phone, definitely an improvement on smoke signals!! Well, I say a chum we were all wives in this social melting pot, obviously trying to make our own mark but only being able to do so when we were invited along with our husbands. Well on this occasion this much more socially experienced lady informed me that she was engaged on that particular evening and she would not be seeing us where ever this was as Mike was not a Number One, in other words this particular party was for Head’s of Companies only. Quite naturally I was mortified, as ironically, Mike was in Dubai setting up the Bitumen Supply Company, which was jointly owned by Shell and BP, why on earth didn’t the powers that be, I really mean the people who produced these dreaded lists know? One seemed to be at everyone’s mercy navigating these social minefields was to become quite an art.Another mystery revealed about the wondrous goings on in Dubai all those moons ago but in retrospect it was a very cleaver way of testing the temperature of the water before jumping in. It was ‘de rigueur’ to be seen at these parties, especially from my point of view to let all those other Number One wives know I was a Number One Wife too. Oh, my goodness that meant acting with decorum and never letting the side down – What a tall order that turned out to be!
Summer is here so it’s time for my camels and I to take a break and wander off into the sunset We will send you post cards along the way.
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