This week I discovered I have a weakness. I have plenty of weaknesses of course, but my fiancée discovered those so they don’t count. No, this is one I learnt all by myself. I am, it would seem, school night intolerant. The expression, lest there’s anyone out there still unsure of its meaning, refers to the brave act of going out during the working week – on a ‘school night’, if you will. It is generally used with an air of slight incredulity (‘you’re still out? On a school night’), bafflement (‘It’s 3am and it’s a school night, what in the name of mercy are we doing?’) or just sheer amazement (‘It’s a school night, aaaaaaaaaargh!’).
Where did this expression come from? Contrary to popular belief (my mum’s certainly having none of it), I attended school. As I remember, evenings were spent thus: walk home, watch Muskehounds, do homework, have dinner, watch bit more telly, bed. That was a school night, from start to finish. And you’ll note that at no point, whatsoever, did it involve diving into a taxi and driving out into the desert to watch expensive horses charging around the world’s biggest racetrack before singing Elton John songs with Mr John himself until three in the morning. That’s not a school night. That’s just bonkers. And yet, incredibly, it seems I am utterly alone with my concerns. School nights are as much part of Dubai life as the humble brunch. I am surrounded by men and women who think nothing of rising at six and thundering through a full day’s work before heading out until past midnight. I can do that. I just can’t get up the next day and do it all again. It’s nothing short of superhuman and if there’s one thing life has taught me above all else, it’s that I am indeed a mere mortal.
To make matters worse, I’ve begun dreading looking at the calendar. Take Vanilla Ice for example. He plays at Barasti this week. I like Mr Ice. I even remember his catchy tune which, as I recall, involved him singing his own name a few times to the backing track of Mr Queen. Watching him live would be fun. I would go, if it were not for one small detail; he’s playing on a Wednesday.
Why? Is this a test of some sort? Am I not to be considered a true expat until I’ve stayed awake an entire week? Fridays are now devoted to sitting slumped on the sofa in a state of semi-shock. This is without doubt the hardest working town I’ve ever experienced. I just wish I’d packed more Red Bull.