JournalismPakistan.com October 8, 2013
I think it's something to do with the personality or maybe the configuration of the stars but I am one of those thin wedges of life. Put me in a queue and its dollars to doughnuts the counter will close just when it's my turn ... all the other queues will start to accelerate.
My bags will be the last to come. The immigration officer will leave his chair as I walk up. Take the aircraft and when the captain says the beautiful Cypriot coastline is on our left I'm seated on the right, peer, peer, where, where? And sure enough, the non-veg portions are finished, sir, we're very sorry, will you settle for horseradish?
Thin wedges go through life summoning waiters in restaurants who don't respond, taking cabs with surly, unfriendly drivers, making travel reservations that collapse because of technical oversights and computer error and attending rock bottom, slashed price sales one day after they are over.
The first symptoms of thin wedging can be noticed in middle childhood. The hot water in the geyser runs tepid just when it's your turn for a bath. Your ink blobs and stains the examination sheet. You are the only one who does not ask for extra sheets and if you do they have run out of them. If you win a prize, it's the one that is not on the stage come annual day because teacher, lovely teacher, forgot ... and now you are scarred for life.
As you grow into the teens, you tend to get used to being a thin wedger. Acne will break out an hour before an especially important date. You will be the twelfth man on the school team and that letter of burning love you wrote to this girl in your life and hid so carefully will be found out by your sister and will be read aloud to the family over laughter and dinner.
It is in adulthood that thin wedging achieves a full and tangible dimension, practically a mark of identification. The branded shirt you buy will shrink on the second wash. The guarantee card that came with the music system will expire just before the music system does. There will always be a krackrrrrrak sound from the carburetor on the morning of a long drive and you'll stop wearing cuff links because you'll never find both of them in the same place.
I have been one for 64 years and have now come to terms with it. I can crack a smile when I know the reception at the five-star hotel will ignore me to the bitter end, only to acknowledge my presence after everyone else has been dealt with. With great practice I have acquired the patience to handle telephone calls that stop ringing the moment I have groped wildly from the shower to reach the bally instrument.
The list is endless. I have yet to find car parking space first time around even in a paid-for car park. My visa application will be held up for 'reasons unknown' to any country in the world and like bees to honey, us thin wedges will attract salesmen who'll sell us detergent we don't want, insurance men who'll come immediately for an inspection and fail to return for the repairs.
It's true, really, and if you are a thin wedger you'll understand what I am saying. We get chain letters. We get mail from the Readers Digest, Life, Time and Newsweek asking us to renew a subscription we haven't got. Half our mail has those transparent windows indicating it is a bill.
If we go on holiday and take a chalet with an ocean view we'll have to lean out of the balcony of a matchbox-size room, way below the waist to see a sliver of sea, there, there, to the left.
And if someone's cutting a cake, you guessed it, we get the thin wedge. It's the others who get the good pieces, with the icing on it.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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