i went up to watch the fireworks for the Dubai Shopping Festival. from the roof. and

i noticed that on the highest floor of this fancy building

in the office that has the best views of the fireworks, [that would be the H floor, used to be Health Club, now I guess it means Hip or Hot or High Rents]:

five of the six windows to the roof (the world really, since anyone can come in the lobby, take the elevator to the H floor, and wander at will)

ARE UNLOCKED [and so, by the way, is my front door… it’s Dubai]


I know, because I open every one of the windows of this office.

In one of them, some heavy-set guy in Western clothes is chattering in Arabic. An Arab. Working too hard. I want to run in and save him, as from a burning building.

It’s THURSDAY NIGHT, buddy! Juice night! The night that women hold up the sky with… oh, never mind.

Just opening the windows of someone else’s property – this is my first subversive act: let the real air in.

then – i climb in the window

of EVERY unlocked window on the H floor

and i write messages on the whiteboard


‘are you a slave?’

‘who are you? who who.jpg do you trust?’

‘who owns you?’

Things like that. Post-it notes to yourself. Stuff from the ’60s that is still true, or anyway worth considering.

Whiteboards are cool because it can’t be a crime to write on an erasable format thingie – even in Dubai.

But just in case! i call my friend who’s an officer in Dubai police, to say Hi. He doesn’t answer, probably out guarding a party from naked breasts. [more about him some other day]

As for the small world of my building: Ibrahim the guard will know, for sure, that it was me, because he pays attention in his ADD way.

He may not understand, exactly, all of these whiteboard messages, when the tenant of the H floor calls him in an outrage and demands to know WHY!

but Ibrahim will definitely get the weight of some of the messages. For sure he will laugh. I hope he will laugh in front of other guards.

maybe because I was raised Catholic, I am a journalist instead of a “criminal.”

all i want is that someone sitting in a drone classroom [which is what this office IS, oh they of the unlocked windows] tomorrow or Saturday

reads these messages and say


what will I wish on my deathbed?

One thought on “Subways

  1. Lisa

    .. You seem SO nostalgic to leave Dubai….!
    Do not worry, East Timor is only a time in your life, and I am sure you will make something good out of it : meet people, work on interesting projects, be with Tom, etc…
    For sure within a few months you will be back closer to your beloved Middle-East 🙂
    Keep in touch, not only for professional reasons…

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