Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rooftop shenanigans

Boys will be boys.

And what 9-year-old boys like to do when their parents aren't watching is climb up somewhere high and sneak a smoke.

Of course I'm just guessing about them being 9. It's a pretty good bet. Probably how old I was when I was doing the same thing.

Except I didn't have a nice, secure rooftop completely out of view of anyone (except an unseen 6th-floor neighbor) to play on.

So I'm just amusing myself on a lazy Riyadh Friday afternoon, avoiding work and admiring the view when I see the two youngsters perched on the roof of the small utility building which is situated in the middle of a rooftop filled with satellite dishes and laundry lines.

I can see the two lads lighting up, without a care I imagine, unaware of the political turmoil around the Gulf on this so-called Day of Rage.

What they don't see is a lady and (one presumes) daughter coming out to hang laundry below.

One of the boys must have heard something because he strolls over to the edge, looks down and jumps back, scurrying to tell his friend. Like a scene out of Rear Window, I realize I have a perfect view of an unfolding drama, an unseen seer. The mother and daughter have no idea the boys are up on the utility roof. They also don't know that I can see them doing their laundry...which would normally be of no interest, except I'm wondering how the boys are going to get down. For their part, the boys don't know that I can see them and that I can also see their mother and the daughter.

One of the boys creeps over to the edge a few times to check the ladies' progress, but hanging out the laundry seems to be a timeless operation this Friday afternoon. The boys settle down for another smoke.

I was tempted to call out or whistle to them, to let them know that I could tell them when the coast would be clear. I figured that would just freak them out, not to mention it could alert the mother.

I watch as the boys determine the women have left the scene and decide it's time to hightail it out of Dodge. But the ladder is very tall and the boys are very short. Plus, they don't know if the ladies are coming back. Something tells me the boys are not supposed to be up there, much less smoking. A few tentative tries on the ladder sees the first one down. The second guy follows.

Mission accomplished. My work is done.



  1. Ah yes, I remember those days. If only my biggest problem were getting caught sneaking a smoke on the roof.

  2. As the Arabic philosopher put it: "Problems magnify to meet your expectations and capacity to handle them."