x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

When brilliant ideas go wrong

Between a hectic schedule, bouts of the flu, and social obligations we have taken to e-mailing each other our news and scheduling some time in the day to chat online.

Mr T and I have not had any time to ourselves in the past few weeks. Between a hectic schedule, bouts of the flu that we can't seem to shake off and a wide assortment of social obligations that we cannot bow out of, we have taken to e-mailing each other our news and scheduling some time in the day to chat online. Drastic measures were in order.

So I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. That alone should have been an indication that disaster was pending, but I am an optimist who tends to ignore my accident-prone nature. Instead, I proceeded to execute my brilliant idea.

It was mid-afternoon on a work day, and I had just finished a two-hour interview for an article that I knew would leave me exhausted. I got into my oven-like car with a head reeling with information I had yet to process. The scorching steering wheel, the Mawaqif parking ticket informing me I was to be penalised for parking 14 minutes over my allotted time and the difficult interview I had just completed left me with no desire to spend 45 minutes tackling busy streets in order to make it back to the office. My apartment was a mere five-minute drive away. In my apartment is a reliable internet connection that would enable me to get a lot of my work done from the comfortable confines of my home.

The "brilliant idea" clinched the deal. I looked at the time and realised that if I headed home right at that moment, I would make it there at least 30 minutes before Mr T usually arrives. In other words, plenty of time to stage a surprise. Indeed a brilliant idea if there ever was one. What could go wrong?

My fingers danced the can-can on the hot steering wheel. I was excited. Soon, I'd get to use the bathroom. And maybe defrost some chicken for later. And finish an hour of work in 15 minutes. And maybe have some time to spritz myself with Mr T's favourite scent.

I gathered my purse, my laptop bag, the files and brochures I had gathered at the interview, the heels I had slipped off as soon as I could change into flip flops in the car, my phone and my keys. A little cumbersome, but nothing I was not used to. I made it into the elevator and pressed the button for the 43rd floor. The elevator made the ping sound that indicated I had arrived. I began to exit the elevator.

That's when the brilliant idea began to disintegrate. I am not yet sure how exactly it happened, but I do remember seeing my keys slip out of my hand and arc through the air. I remember thinking it is going to be such a hassle to bend down and retrieve them with all I was carrying. I remember thinking I never noticed that gap between the elevator door and the actual floor before.

In a classic example of "now you see them, now you don't", my keys disappeared. That large bunch of keys somehow managed to fit in a 2mm-wide opening and fall 43 floors down into a cavern.

I was stranded. No way to get into my apartment, no point in heading back to the car, no change for a cab, and an urgent need to find some facilities.

I settled in for the wait.

Thirty minutes later, right on time, Mr T walked out on to the 43rd floor. His wife, brilliantly enough, was right there waiting to surprise him, although on the wrong side of their apartment door. There is still no sign of those wretched keys.