Today I have been in Dubai buying wedding rings. For the best part of my life I have envisaged this day being a nightmare. I have imagined spending hour upon hour sifting through thousands of seemingly identical objects while waiting to die. My beliefs could not have been further from reality. I was marched into one shop, found one that I liked for a price that ensured my jaw remained firmly attached to my face, paid a deposit and bang, five minutes later my fiancé took her turn. She tried a few on, saw one she liked and bang, ten minutes later we were both sorted. Mission complete.
It took no more than 15 minutes but no one can say we rushed it. We both had very accurate ideas of what we wanted. Mrs. Fullard-to-be wanted a thin band with a few diamonds on the top to match the kidney-valued engagement ring that she is terrified to remove. Me, I wanted a brushed white gold affair with a solitary stripe on one side. I like the matt look, I don’t like shiny things. Shiny things reflect too much light and distract your attention from more important matters.
The thought of having a shiny wedding ring does not appeal. I would be sitting at my laptop typing out guff, as I so often do, but would constantly be drawn to my wedding finger. So as opposed to typing out my thoughts on the keyboard, I would be dribbling on it instead.
When I sit here in my office at UAE Uncut Towers I like to have dim mood lighting. I have a desk lamp that gives just the right amount of light so whenever I go for a sip of red wine, I reach for the wine glass and not the flower vase. I hate bright lights, and I hate things that reflect bright lights. I like my lights like I like my pubs, dark and quiet.
Once Operation What Savings? was complete it was time to speed back to Al Ain, and man alive, did I moan. I want you to be honest, put your hands up in the air if you don’t know the headlight high beam or fog light switches look like in your car. Go on. Right, if you put your hand up then shame on you, I can’t see you so why did you do it? That tells me you’re not so smart.
If you have ever driven with the high beams on when there are other cars on the road or you have driven on the road with your fog lights on when it is not foggy then you are the enemy. If you think that you are a good driver, i.e. drive within the speed limits and always indicate whenever you change direction, then good on you. If however you do drive thusly but do so with the high beams on or the fog light on then you are a thousand times more dangerous than any speeding lunatic in a Land Cruiser.
Imagine that you are driving your car at 120 Kommunists per hour on the motorway, and you overtake another motorist in the correct fashion. Once you are ahead you indicate right and move back in front of the driver you have just negotiated. You are then blinded from three angles. First, the rear view mirror; you look back at your fellow road-goer and are blinded by the headlights. You can manually dip the rear view mirror so that is what you do. But the game is afoot; you are now being blinded from the wing mirrors. You could adjust them but is that wise? By this stage you have no way of seeing what is happening behind.
Either way, you cannot see behind you. Your mirrors are reflecting the tarmac, your eyeballs are on fire, and you are screaming as if you have just been marinated in sulphuric acid, what to do? Well the usual protocol is to crash horribly into the central reservation, pirouette across the road and wipe out as many cars as you can in the process. If this does not appeal to you then you should pull alongside the offending motorist and then nudge him – or her – slowly off the road and into a ravine.
If this also is outside of your comfort zone then may I suggest you pull back in behind the inconsiderate, ignorant, dangerous individual and flash your lights manically at them and scream in a panicked terror. If nothing else they may pull over thinking that they have a problem. Follow them and politely inform then that by flicking the stalk behind the steering wheel, the blue light on the dashboard goes away and they, as a result, will cease being a murderer.
Between Dubai and Al Ain this evening I encountered thirty (yes, I did actually count) vehicles that either had their high beams or fog lights on. In one such instance I was left blinded for several seconds, had a road surprise presented itself then I would have been 60ft in the air before I would have realised that there was a problem.
Speed won’t kill unless you lose control, changing lanes without looking in your mirrors won’t kill unless there is another car there and talking on your phone certainly won’t kill unless you’re using Skype. These are all poor driving habits and the authorities are acting upon them. But what of lights? Those who drive with high beams or fogs on are the most lethal of them all. They should be peeled and hurled into a vat of salt.
Driving home tonight made me rethink my wedding ring choice. If I had gone for a shiny one then if I had the angle right I could perhaps aim it at the drivers behind me. They would surely be blinded instantly and perhaps realise where I am coming from. Or, more likely, they would crash and it would be my fault. Typical.
So there we are, then. Buying wedding rings: piece of cake. Driving home afterwards: a horrid nightmare that has left my eyes on fire.