Now that we are firmly entrenched in our bourgeois lifestyle, we decided to get an all-around-the-house guy/driver. He's been with us since January and so far he's been all all-around-the-house and we never got around to the "/driver" part. I woke up this morning and decided today would be the day that my guy would begin his quest towards attaining that most elusive of prizes, an Omani driving license. A process that could take him all next year
We went to the 24 hour ROP place in Seeb next to the Expo center. I won't bore you with the details of the boring process. Two interesting bits. I was told to go directly to the eye test room. I went in and asked the guy for a form, he was a nice young guy, probably 20 years old. But he was in way over his head. Poor guy was doing it all, giving and accepting applications, doing eye tests, and filling out the learner's permit booklets for everyone. He looked at me and asked if I can wait but he called me "al walid" which is what people in Oman call old people (literarly translated as father). Me? Ana? Alwalid? I accept that my hair is now more grey than black but come on, I'm 35 years old. All I could do was smile and sit down to wait my turn.
When my turn finally came he handed me the application to fill. I thought I could fill it right there, but in typical bueracratic fashion he insisted I should go and come back. Why? "you need copies of x, y and z". Done, here there. "The sponsor has to come here himself or else someone with a tawkeel". No problem, I'm his sponsor. Then he says "we need a letter from his sponsor stating that he has no objection that this guy gets a driving license". WTF? The guy is here in Oman on a visa that cIearly states his occupation as private household driver. I took the passport from my pocket and showed it to him. Besides, I'm the sponsor, I'm here personally to get him the permit, why do I have to go home and come back with a letter? "If you want an exception maybe you can go see the officer in charge and request him to give you an exception". Is there a logic to this? I had to calm myself down and leave the room. My record with the police is not so good. Situation like this usually end up with me being threatened with jail and having to writing pledges to not get in trouble with them. It's been three and a half years since the last time I wrote one of those pledges and I've been avoiding all contact with the police ever since. I was a good boy today. I wrote the letter and submitted it with the application. Walked out an hour later with the permit. Now I need to find a driving instructor who's up to the task of turning my guy into a hyphenate.