Monday, January 25, 2010

You've heard of death by a million paper cuts?

Sometimes, Abu Dhabi is death (or at least minor discomfort) by a million daily annoyances. I won't run through the peaks--high!--and valleys--subterranean!--of the last few days. They have, at least in terms of cultural events, been summed up aptly at this well-designed blog.

But you know, this city does things that gets your hopes up. You go to a shiny, new museum and see a well-curated art exhibit as the sun sets over a slowly awakening island called "happiness." You think to yourself, "Self, Abu Dhabi is figuring some stuff out."

Then you try to get your Internet service upgraded to a higher speed, and you think that, no, ain't no one figured out nothin'.

The week so far has been a maze of unexpected setbacks, confrontations and frustrating customer service experiences. But I guess on some level, that reflects the reality of a country still trying to figure out what it is. Stuff doesn't run smoothly. Big ideas sometimes turn out small, or not at all. Unnamed internet service providers send you your bill two days after it is due and won't let you sign up for a more-expensive service over the phone.

I learn to deal with it. Ideally, the city is learning a few lessons too.

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