Monday, 2 July 2012

Cultural Difference on the Squash Court.

Last week I watched cultural difference on the squash court.  A few of the western Blokes on our compound, Hubster included, play squash on the compound court most nights.   In the four years Hubster has lived here neither he nor the other Blokes has ever had to book the squash court which says something about their ability to get along, or get themselves organised, as our compound only boasts 1 squash court.  

The other day a couple of The Blokes were about to go on the court when an Arab expat said, 'T'he court is booked. 
I have booked the court.
Who books the court?
I have.
From 7 till 8.  (Clock is checked.  It's 6.50pm)
Ok, so we have 10 minutes.  We'll just have a quick game, it'll only take 10 minutes.

Mr Arab Man says OK
The Blokes go on court.

Five minutes later I overhear Mr Arab Man, who is a new squash player though not a new tenant, say he is going to ring security if The Blokes don't come off the court on time.
Five minutes after that he rings security.
Security duly comes racing over to tell The Blokes the court is booked by someone else.
The Blokes get a bit ratty and shitty.  Not because Someone Else had booked the court but because he rang security.

Who the hell rings security to tell you to get off the squash court?
Just knock on the bloody door.  You're standing right there.  It's a glass door.  In fact the entire back wall of the court is glass.  You can see right through it.   So just knock, wave or otherwise gesture.

But no.

We have learnt that lots of people in Saudi of non-western persuasion don't really like confrontation.   They like other people to do the confronting for them.  Though, bugger me, I'm not quite sure whats confronting about saying , 'My coach is here now, time for you guys to get off the court.' 

It might have helped, of course, if Mr Arab had mentioned he'd booked the court for a squash lesson.  (This information was passed on by security in response to some verbal argy bargy).  The Blokes may have been a bit less... ummm...irritated about the whole affair if they'd known the situation at the start of their 10 - 15 minutes.  They conceded (three days later) that they wouldn't want a couple of Blokes wasting their precious lesson time if they'd booked a coach. 

But at the time, without such information, The Blokes presumed Mr Arab would do what the other squash players on the compound have always done when someone else has taken to the court.  They Wait.  Usually long enough for the game to be played out.  (Which in the case of the two players in question doesn't take very long).

While waiting, they either watch the game or take a seat, drink a healthy beverage and chinwag. 
If it's a competitive match they often comment. 
If it's not a competitive match they usually joke and laugh about how soon they'll be on the court.
They Warm up.
All the while making it known behind the glass wall that they are ready to go on court as soon as the other Blokes are done.
They sure as heck don't go ring security.

Yes, it's interesting watching cultural differences play out on the squash court.

Ka Kite,

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