trying to master the little things

 
Last night just before dinner I had a little incident with the shower.  It’s one of those hand-held showerheads that hooks onto a height-adjustable mounting.  When I turned the water on, it came on with gusto … so much gusto in fact that the showerhead flew off the mounting and sprayed the entire bathroom for about 2 seconds.  It’s happened to me three times now.  Previously I’d sprayed outside the bathroom, along the wall, and the other side of the bathroom.  For better or worse, I’ve sprayed different areas each time.  I have no idea what the staff makes of this.  Perhaps they wonder why I don’t shower with the door closed (I do, but the glass doesn’t go high enough to prevent the nuclear-powered shower from going over the walls.
 
Perhaps it was my tendancy towards hosing down the walls and ceilings that led to my wake up call arriving one hour early this morning (4:45 AM instead of 5:45 AM).
 
One thing that we used to do when traveling someplace new was to learn how to say ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’, thank you’, and ‘excuse me’ in the local language.  I’m trying to do that now, but a) I’m old and forget these words if I do not use them, and b) it’s a lot more complex doing this in arabic.  For example, you say hello differently to men, women, and groups of people.  There are four different ways to say ‘please’ : when asking for something in a shop, when inviting someone, when offering something, when inviting someone to go before you.  And for each of thee, you apply a different suffix for men, women, and groups.  All of this fine points fly right out of my head when I’m speaking to someone in real time.  Still – a little goes a long way.  The folks I’ve said ‘thank you’ to have smiled – unless I’ve swapped the syllables, in which case I’ve probably said "Pencil!" or "I most emphatically trim my fingernails with gerbils".  In those cases, the response has been something between bewilderment and sympathy.
 
Oh well.  I think I’m going to grab that 20 minutes of sleep I have left before my real wakeup call now.
 
Sabah al kahyr!
 
 
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