Monday, January 9, 2012

Tipophobia - March 2008

Our dearest friend Karima El D. had an operation... We agreed we'll "trickle" ourselves to the hospital for many reasons... One: so that she'll always have company at different times of the day or evening, and two: so as not to over-crowd her hospital room and thus suffocate poor Karima, 3ashan el nafass ya gama3a... So... Karima had her operation on Saturday evening and a bunch of us went on Sunday... El ossoul, ossoul... I liaised with Hala H. (Hook) to meet her there. With tawfeeq from Allah and without anyone's help I found the perfect one-in-a-million parking spot right in front of the door of Badran Hospital... I can't believe my good fortune and just as I'm locking the car a very respectable-looking affendi who's wearing a decent shirt and pair of trousers, appears on the other side of the street... I don't pay him any attention and enter the hospital. I waited for the lift which again arrived in less than 2 minutes... unlike your regular hospital lifts which come after 15 minutes, long after you bang on the door... so I started to worry... This is tooooo smooth, howa feeh eih... Little was I to know that it won't end well... But stay with me... I enter the lift and apparently it's a patients' lift, the one that can take the whole operating room, with room to spare! Now I HATE these kinds of lifts... It's enough that I'm entering a hospital for crying out loud, but do you need to remind me of the whole operating ambience... Uncalled for if you ask me, but NO ONE is asking me! I live with this situation till the fifth floor and can hardly wait to leave that "room", and I tip the lift attendant and he sends me off with an "it-fud-ali ya Hanem" اتفضلي يا هانم... I arrive at Karima's suite and find my dearest Nahed G. (Conrad), Hook and Nagla M. (Nouga the Aid)... And of course dearest Karima who looked great Alhamdulillah... Karima was very grateful that we visited her but she was more grateful to Nagla the Aid... Just a second puh-leeez... I HAVE to explain this one... We are ALL hypochondriacs with varying degrees and have our own precious phobias which we try to deal with, and Karima being anti-operations, compared notes with Nouga the Aid who's a little claustrophobic. Nouga referred her to a great doctor who prescribed a cute sedative so she can get into the operating room. Karima took the prescribed medicine and was dancing all the way to the operating room... So it worked well for Karima... But not so well for poor Nouga the Aid... You see, earlier that day, Nouga had an important meeting in a government agency and had to get into one of those boxes you call lifts that take you all the way up to the 40th floor... In anticipation she took a cute little pill to fight her claustrophobia... But the meeting was delayed and the medication wore off and she HAD to take that lift to get to the meeting... Can't go up 40 flights of stairs you know! She fought her phobia with all her might, summoned her courage and breathed deeply before entering the lift... But you know the saying: "Eli yekhaf min el 3afreet yetla3 loh" اللي يخاف من العفريت يطلع له... The lift jerked and stopped mid-air! People in the lift were not worried; they know it'll soon be fixed... Ah, but there's just one problem... Nouga has LONG nails and they manage to dig deep and hard in the neck of the poor person standing next to her, and she's screaming for them to get her OUT of this lift... NOOOOWWW... The people in the lift are clueless; they don't know what to do... Do they untangle Nouga who's not in an Aid mood anymore and save the guy who's slowly bleeding to death à-la-Dracula, or concentrate on fixing the lift... They didn't wait long... The lift jolts back to life and resumes its journey... Minus Nouga-I-won't-Aid-ANYONE-ANYMORE who categorically gets off on the next floor and walks all the way up... But that's a side note... So naturally Nouga the Aid is now sitting in Karima's room like a zombie from the sheer exhaustion of that paranormal experience, and I'm scared to ask her whether she took the hospital lift coming up to Karima's or not... Can't afford to bleed to death you know, so I wisely keep my mouth shut... We entertain Karima until her niece comes and we start leaving... I take Hook with me to give her a lift... Can't wait to boast my perfect parking spot... We go down and as I'm manoeuvring the car the affendi whom I saw earlier, signals me out of my perfect parking spot, although I neither needed nor requested it... That perfect parking spot was so perfect, the car could've unparked itself... So I'm really and truly confused... The guy looks too respectable to be a monadi and I'm SCARED to tip him just in case he's not a monadi and would thus offend him... I use my common sense and decide not to tip him, and instead make a mental note to thank him from the bottom of my heart... so I lower my window and with my best possible smile tell him how grateful I am for his help and with an "alf shukr" drive off... I expect him to return my civility or at least give me a dou3a, short of saying "it-fud-ali ya Hanem" like the lift attendant... But just, just, just as I was lifting my window I hear his obscenity... Something along the lines of "this is what we get from you, you cheap ..." with a horrible adjective attached to it... Could it be my imagination... No, it isn't... I'm extremely offended from this uncalled for insult and don't want to let this one slide, so I go back and ask him: "Excuse me, did you insult me just now?"... How hopelessly naive of me! The so-called affendi turns out to be no affendi at all, but a well-dressed 3arbagui incognito (excuse my Italian!) and with the most vulgar attitude says: "No I didn't... If I wanted to insult you I would've insulted you to your face..." I'm speechless but with whatever common sense I had left know that this is a hopelessly impolite person not worth talking to, so I say nothing and drive away... I knew it! I knew this outing was going to end badly starting from my perfect parking spot... It was too good to be true... This is the price I had to pay for that once in a lifetime parking spot... I look to Hook for inspiration... Blank... Compassion?... I get none... She simply says: "Of course he expected you to tip him, they all do"... I plead: "But he didn't look like a monadi, I was scared to tip him!"... Hook is still unsympathetic: "He expected a tip"... "How was I to know? I didn't want to offend him, I wasafraid to tip him!"... Hook doesn't answer... She probably thought it was a matter of intelligence (or lack of it) on my part... Hook, how could you not support me in my minute of need? Et tu Bruté?... I secretly wish that I was one of Hook's weird looking potatoes so that she treats me with more compassion... Heavy silence... I try to break it by telling Hook that I tipped the lift attendant, in a desperate attempt to prove that I do tip, and generously too... Hook throws me a curt salam and hops out of the car without looking back... I've lost her friendship forever and I get the feeling that she wants me to seek professional help... I decide to seek Nouga's Aid... Nouga, please snap out of your Non-Aid mood, I desperately need your Aid... I need a TIPOPHOBIA pill... Yes Tipophobia; a pill that makes one get over the fear of tipping... In any case I learnt my lesson, a golden rule of thumb: when in doubt tip, tip, TIP!

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