126. Agendas

Last month, a small local business called Microsoft released an advert for the new Internet Explorer. It was aimed at those of us who were born in the eighties and who were the lucky few who could call themselves “90’s kids”. It was all there, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Hungry Hippos, Tamagotchis, Pogs and course everyone’s favourite; Sonic the Hedgehog. It, like many my age, brought a tear to my eye. Those were the days.

I miss the nineties. Back in those days Wimbledon were a Premier League football club, so to, were Leeds United. Bruce Forsythe was in the prime of his life presenting three out of every four game shows and music was all about the true stalwarts of the music industry: Take That, East 17, Boyzone, The Spice Girls and All Saints. We were also the first generation to use mobile phones as a tool for social classification. We didn’t have the internet so spent our time outside playing football, riding bikes and climbing trees. We didn’t know anything about the threat of Communism and thought that the tearing down of the Berlin Wall was nothing more than another football riot and the concept of war? Pah! War was in the past when things were black and white, it could never happen again.

Our clothes were baggy, our caps were rubbish, our wallets had Velcro, our phones were bricks and we were told that we would be the most financially stable generation on record. I miss the nineties, things were simple, I was a kid and I didn’t understand the world. It was better that way.

Of course through my rose-tinted spectacles I am unable to see the underbelly that inevitably existed, unlike today. Today I see through everything. Ask my fiancé, I cannot even go into a supermarket without psychoanalysing carrots and questioning why things are the way they are. This makes her very cross sometimes, all she wants is for me to go and get the milk but I stand there shouting at the vegetables instead, demanding to know their history and their intentions. Secretly, I am jealous of the vegetables. They remind me of the simple nineties, they don’t have to worry. Their purpose is to grow, be cooked and then be eaten, nothing more. They don’t have to deal with the politics of life or agendas of good-for-nothing charlatans.

Since moving to the UAE five years ago I have met a lot of people. Most of them are just normal folk over here to enjoy life and good on them. But, for every normal, stand-up person I meet, there is an opposite; an egotistical maniac with his or her own ideas on how things should be. These are the people with their own agendas and, man alive, who let them in?

I speak to a lot of people and one common complaint that everyone seems to share is that they work with, or know, a complete pest who has waltzed into their life by some means and effectively set off a grenade. It normally starts with a complete lack of understanding about the environment and ignorance to the feelings of others. If you have been working as a paper supplies salesman for three years and for those three years you have sat at the same desk, would you not be peeved if the new guy came in one day and simply took it without so much as a “good morning” latte? It takes a team of people to build a happy, successful workplace, but only one to destroy it.

It goes on to a grander scale; have you ever met a businessman or self-made millionaire? They are like spoilt children and are exceptionally partial to a spot of word play. What they do, when they don’t like someone else making money, is go and spread juvenile rumours that their rivals eat babies and use Burmese sweat shops to make cheap wine with anti-freeze. They say that they are conning everyone and things like “I can get it for you much cheaper” and so on. And why? Because they just want to make money for themselves and get one over the guy they don’t like. They will happily put you in the middle and, really, they care as much for your customer satisfaction as an Albanian benefits tourist cares for Ian Duncan-Smith. These swindlers are not to be trusted.

Go on Sonic! Those rings are yours anyway! Go on son!

Go on Sonic! Those rings are yours anyway! Go on son!

The agendas that people develop over here soon consume their lives to such an extent that they themselves actually start to believe their own lies. They begin to struggle to trust those around them and loyalty is frequently called into question. It is all well and good saying that you are going to a meeting at 8pm when really you are going out for dinner. Try removing your veil of conspiracy and just speak the truth.

I have never known anything like it. Wherever you go it is all the same; people spreading rumours about other people and other people cheating their way to a pay-rise because they are allowed to. If you do not ask then you do not get; fine, but Hell, what happened to hard work and loyalty? Perhaps I am reading too much into what I hear, but this is why I miss the nineties. I was a kid with an undeveloped mind so I didn’t notice anything like this, but it must have been going on under my nose back then, too.

It seems that you have to approach life like a game of Chess. You cannot just go in guns blazing, you have to slowly work your way around the issue and line yourself up to take the board. It is a long, boring and drawn out process that can barely be classed as a game. This is in contrast to Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic was simple. In Sonic, you just smashed into things and took back what was rightfully yours and always have a laugh doing it.

To get even you might have to get dirty, but really, do you want to be even with a charlatan? Do you want to sink to that level? Wouldn’t you just rather be happy and not get involved?

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