Upon arriving in Dubai with the 48 other new teachers, my first alliance was made. Four of us that would be making the move to Ras Al Khaimah after the training, decided to rent a car together for the first month. My knee jerk reaction is to tell you, “Huge mistake” but then so many of the memories came because of that carpool.
Our Sunny Nissan got the worst of it.
“Shit,” three of us spat as we slammed forward.
“Oh, oh, sorry,” our British mate sputtered.
“Damn it. For the tenth time, that’s the brake, not the clutch.”
“Right, right,” his British accent was always accompanied by a nodding of his head and the repetition of the same word.
“What the hell? Don’t you have automatics in England?” I pushed myself back on the seat.
“Yeah, yeah. Of course.”
“What’s the problem then? You’ve been driving this thing for three days. Why don’t you let someone else drive?”
“No, no. I got it. I got it.” He had turned around fully in his seat to address those of us in the back, causing the Sunny to inevitably veer into the next lane.
“Look out!” The car next to us laid on its horn and our driver abruptly jerked the wheel causing us to slam to the right.
“Oh, I’m going to be sick,” I said.
“Right, right. My kids always get a bit car sick too.”
“Really, Bean? I would have never guessed.”
That’s what our British mate’s nickname became right off that bat. Every moment with him was a Mr. Bean episode.
The remaining three of us quickly picked up nicknames: My Spanish friend was called “Wildman” simply because he was not; the other guy was Cee Lo, I think because Bean and Wildman had never hung out with a large black man before; and they called me “Calamity Jane”.