Sunday, February 10, 2008

Instant Karma, Al Ghubra Style

Are you guys sick of hearing about my neighbours yet? Too bad, because this one is about them too, but it's a great story so stay put.

Friday afternoon, Stone and I were sitting in the front garden. We had the gates open to the street so we could watch the world go by, and say hello to the neighbours we don't hate. Both of them.

Around 14:00 we hear the sound of a small engine, tagged to the red line, tearing down a neighbouring street followed by the squealing of wheels as it turned a corner. Moments later, the thing is tearing down our street. It's a baiza bus, and it's clocking 80 -100 kph on our residential street full of kids. The Bus Zooms past, brakes hard, and then squeals around a corner three blocks down, and flies back up the next block over.

Five minutes later, same thing. Ten minutes after that, same thing. Two minutes after that, same thing. We stand around and wait for a while, hoping to get the registration number of the bus so we can call the police. They are gone. Fifteen minutes later, we can hear them tearing it up four streets over.

Stone has had about enough of this nonsense. He grabs a basketball, and stands in the shadow of another parked car. The Bus squeals around the corner, five blocks down, and starts accellerating.

(I wish I could freeze this moment....) Stone waits for the perfect moment, and throws the basket ball out into view, bouncing in our drive way. The basket ball bounces once, twice, and carries on soaring through the air in a perfect tragectory. He driver of the bus, going as fast as he is, doesn't even have time to hit the brakes. The bus collides with the basket ball dead center. Bullseye!!!!! the plastic grille goes flying over the roof and lands shattered in the middle of the street, the basket ball goes soaring forward flying almost a hundred meters before impacting with a wall. The driver slams on the brakes, locking all four wheels up. He skids another block and a half, before coming to a stop.

The Sliding door opens, and four young boys about twelve years old pop out and run round to the front to look at the damage. I go running up, whip the drivers side door open, and find myself face to face with a grinning fifteen year old boy. I ask him just what the hell he thinks he's doing driving like that in a neighbourhood full of little kids. I ask him if he would be grinning so hard if that had been my daughter, or Hassan's little boy he'd just hit, ( and obviously killed instantly) . He slams on the gas, and peels away, driving back to his father's house just around the corner. Yeah, it was my neighbour's kids, joy-riding in Daddy's baiza bus. Suprised?

Stone is standing in the middle of the street, bent over double, laughing at the fabulous instant karma he has delivered. Now that we have the lisence number for the car, we phone the ROP. Stone speaks to them, and explains the whole story, and asks if the ROP could be kind enough to pop round to the father's house and mention that they found his grille in the street, and would the kids like to explain how it wound up in the street three blocks over.

I hate to advocate child abuse here, but I hope the father whipped thier little asses.

A Note about My Neighbourhood: We live in a Very Very Suburban Neighbourhood. Every single house and apartment in the neighbourhood has little kids in it. Our little neighbourhood is bordered on all sides by major streets, so the kiddies are effectively trapped.

There are no playgrounds anywhere in our neighbourhood, although there are about fifty empty lots filled with construction rubble and trash, and six mosques serving a community of about five hundred, including women and children.

There is not a single, solitary, place for the kids to play anywhere here, so they play in the carport areas, and on the street. As I have mentioned before, the kids in my neighbourhood really, really, really suck at sports involving ball control.

I am perpetually amazed that none of them have fallen victim to being run over by one of the hundreds of Mohammed AL Schumacher's that use our road as a short cut, or a drag strip. Trust me, dollars to doughnuts, it will happen sooner rather than later.

Coming up later this week: I present the Muscat Community parks initiative, a post on the recent freezing temperatures, and why we all need to move to Detroit. Maybe.


Ali said...

Well done to Stone, lucky no one got injured.

I actually felt the same thing when I was back in Oman last month for holidays. My nephew sometimes cycles outside the house (despite severe warnings) in an area which is just a few metres away from a very busy street. It made me realize how much we lack those playgrounds/parks, especially after living abroad.

The closest thing we had when I was growing up was sandy spot which had the rubbish bins and unwanted trash people throw out, even that is replaced by a house now.

Undercover Dragon said...


Another great tale! The image was priceless. These idiots that race in residential areas annoy the hell out of me. I've often dreamed of having a remote controlled wheelchair with a dummy in it I could manoever out in front of these dickheads.

And I totally agree on the playgrounds. Muscat Municipality spends so much money making the grassy bits on the side of the motorway nice. And as a result you see kids forced to play soccor right next to the motorways. I saw 2 boys having to do the dash of death at the bit between Darsait and Mina Al Fahal to get their ball back.

It would cost very little to take the empty lots and garbage strewn areas and make a load of simple safe play areas for kids. The key being to have lots of little basic ones that kids can walk to, not fancy ones their parents have to drive them to.