I’m desperate – will someone please ask me about my weekend? It’s not yet 9am on a Sunday morning and already I’m pacing the coffee room at Time Out Towers, glaring pathetically at sleepy colleagues I barely know in the vain hope they will enquire about my two-day work break.
I haven’t become the loneliest, most desperate person on the planet overnight (not yet, anyway). No, I have taken up scuba diving.
Now all I want to talk about is dive destinations and aquatic adventures.
At this point, there are two things one should know about a scuba-diving newcomer. First, there is something about spotting that first stingray or turtle that makes a new diver desperate to announce it to the world – like the proud new mum who stuffs her Facebook page full of pictures of her newborn alien lookalike. Second, the new diver is unable to see that nobody cares. Again, a lot like Facebook Mum.
The eventual conversation goes something like this:
Colleague: ‘What did you do over the weekend?’
Me [expectantly]: ‘I went diving.’
Colleague [politely, as he leaves]: ‘Oh, good for you. I never fancied it, to be honest.’
In my defence, it’s not just me who suffers from this phenomenon. Whether it’s exploring the wonderful reefs of the UAE and Oman coastline, dune buggying in the desert or joining a dragon-boating team, living in Dubai offers activities that most expats would never have tried had they not moved to these shores. It becomes difficult not to boast proudly of these adventures; years of living in a town where the most interesting thing you do all week is the Friday-night big shop will do that to you.
I have another Facebook ‘friend’ from my home town who regularly posts beautiful images of snow-covered mountains with captions such as, ‘What view did you wake up to today?’ While I want to reply with a kick in his mouth, I’m sure he doesn’t realise how mind-bogglingly condescending he has become. He’s simply proud of his life, and so he should be. But that doesn’t mean people won’t despise him for it.
The penny drops for me when a third colleague is overcome by a look of pure boredom as I tell him about the poisonous lion fish I saw or how the turtle I spotted looked like the one from Finding Nemo. From now on, I will keep my underwater exploits between myself and my new dive buddies. Just don’t ask me what I did at the weekend.
Jamie Goodwin is our assistant online editor. Next week he will be raving about a new fad hobby.