What's Your Favorite Gripe?

Sand from the latest Doha dust storm.
Sand from the latest Doha dust storm.

The weather in the world has been strange lately. Earthquakes in Iran, floods in Europe, and sandstorms in Qatar. Yes, sandstorms are strange even in the desert because they are a winter phenomena, not for summer time.

For many people, this is the chief compliant about Qatar: the weather. It’s pleasant enough eight months of the year but those four months from May – August are HOT. As in 40 degrees Celsius, 100+ degrees Fahrenheit hot. As in, you go outside and feel the flesh on your face shrink from the heat, flesh peeling hot.

As I used to say when I first moved here, Africa hot.

There is only one standard response this kind of heat evokes in people whether they are single, married, childless or parents. Driven inside by the oppressive heat, everyone comes to the same conclusion:

“There’s nothing to do here.”

Since the climate is so unlivable at the height of summer, no wonder most companies have a 25 day leave bank for employees. This number can rise as high as 45, depending on the institution. While American organizations still maintain the earn-as-you-leave-accural method, Qatar is one of the few places people can take the amount of leave they have accrued, say two or three weeks, and know their job will still be waiting for them. Thus the mass exodus every summer when families bundle away to grandparents, uncles, and aunts while singles hightail to exotic beaches while men from all over South Asian continue to wear blue overalls hanging from structures all over the country that continue being built.

It’s fashionable to complain about the weather without realizing that the very burden is the reason for the blessing.

What is your favorite complaint? Do you ever hear others settling into a familiar pattern of behavior?




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