The funniest moment in my life

happened this past week. Having just returned from one of the best vacations of my life – made wonderful by all the family and friends and love I felt while away – I promised to bring positivity and energy into my everyday in Qatar.

After working out (another one of my life changes after a glorious summer) I went to the nearby office supply store to pick up a file cabinet. For the past two years I’ve griped about the fact that my request for a file cabinet has gone ignored while staff hired after me received theirs. The people who manage these requests shrugged their shoulder or smiled when I inquired about when I could expect my order. 

Miraculously, a few months later when I had finally made a breakthrough with the coordinator of procurement in our department, new office furniture showed up in time with my first year anniversary. I made it past the invisible line that said: This foreigner is serious – she is staying past one year- about making a life in Qatar (See another entry on this related subject: The plush black leather couches raised eyebrows with all who passed by my office.

But no file cabinet.

So in my post-work bliss, I went to the supply store, bought my own three drawer file cabinet, loaded it into my car, and drove home.

The next day, I drove into work and handed the keys to Mohammed, our office worker, to see if he could help bring up my file cabinet (a perk of this type of organizational culture for sure). I sat down at my desk to see what was what in the world of email.

In the next moment – honestly, honestly – a group of three men in workmen’s overalls – standard to this part of the world, were rolling in a four drawer filing cabinet, asking me where I wanted it. 

This was not the one I bought the night before. This was the long waited, long promised cabinet, two years in the delivery.

I did the only thing I could do: laugh manically, causing the laborers to back out of my office, shaking their heads.

But I stayed true to my oath. I wasn’t angry when I took the cabinet back to the supply store and had to wait 20 minutes to get approval for a reimbursement.

“Why ma’am? Why are you returning this?”

“Because I don’t need it.”

“Anything wrong ma’am?”

(This is apparently the only reason to return something).

I shake my head no.

How can I explain a world in which a file cabinet shows up two years after the request, on the morning after another one was bought?


I did get my money and I did keep my smile.