Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hazardous Occupations #23: Optician

A funny thing happened today.

I've been visiting quite a few Riyadh opticians recently. The reason is I have a pair of fancy folding wraparound sunglasses with rubber sleeves on the arms, and through various instances of misuse (most involving a swimming pool) these rubber sleeves have become torn and frayed at the edge. So, being designer glasses 'n' all I've been scouting around for replacement sleeves. Boring so far I know, but the scene needed setting....

At the weekend I went into Magrabi Optical in Hayat Mall on Old Airport Rd. This was around Optician's Number Ten on my quest, so by now I was used to negative responses. I was greeted by a young male (they all are) Receptionist and the eventual answer was indeed negative, again, but what struck me about this young man was that he had a very odd bruise on his forehead. It was like a horizontal stripe of a bruise, about three-to-four inches long, right in the middle of his forehead. I found it hard not to look at it, but refrained from asking him how he'd got it. They didn't carry spare Carrera rubber thingies in stock, but he suggested I try their branch in Sahara Plaza mall, because that's where their workshop is so they'd be likely to have a larger stock of spares.

I finally got around to this next stage of the quest this morning, and when I entered the shop I found that it was indeed several times larger than the first branch. Any thought of actually getting my spare parts disappeard in a puff of smoke, however, when I saw the young man sat at Reception. He had the same kind of bruise on his forehead! I know what you're thinking, and NO -- it wasn't the same bloke on a temporary transfer, but a completely different young male bruised Receptionist.

When I told Karen the story this afternoon (she already knew about bruised Receptionist #1) she made me laugh by suggesting that they'd got them from that eye testing machine where you have to rest your head against a padded bar to look into the patients' eyes. How we laughed, speculating that perhaps you were relegated to Reception if you had performed clumsily in your Skillful Use Of Eye Test Machine test. Or perhaps, when it's quiet in the shop, like it is most mornings, they relieve the boredom by having eye test machine races to see who can sit-look-run around-sit-look-from-the-other-side the fastest.

We'll never know.

5 comments:

Laura said...

Well, did you get the spares?

Chris said...

Nope, still looking, and trying not to get bruised in the process.

Sim said...

If the mark is what I think it is then it's a result of long and hard praying. Basically, it results from placing your forehead to the ground for long periods of time. So people who have them are seen as quite religious and pious. It's quite a common sight. Alternatively they both could have walked straight into a wall. we'll never know :P.

Chris said...

Sim: interesting thought, and quite possible I guess. The prayer RSI angle hadn't occurred to me, but I have to say I don't think it's that common. In two years in Riyadh these two Optician's Receptionists are the only two I've seen, at least as memory serves.

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