By Keith J Fernandez www.business24-7.ae
No more smelly cab drivers. Instead, on the Metro, we will now be faced with an onslaught of body odour and other rudeness, which will see us rediscover our relationship with all manner of pleasant diversions. To borrow a phrase from computer major HP, entertainment has become personal again.
At the outset, I must confess that I haven’t taken the metro yet – I hope to do that on Sunday, when all the gawkers and the merely curious have finished queueing up to be there, do that, wear the T-shirt.
Nevertheless, I, for one, am looking forward to digging out my long-haul-only iPod and hardwiring my brain each morning for the fresh stresses ahead, and plugging into my own little “Silent Disco”, as Deputy Entertainment Editor Bindu Rai calls it, on the way home from work.
And all those who were once voracious readers will now be able to rediscover the joy of a neat turn of phrase, giving bookshops a small but much-needed boost in sales. More people too, will have time for a 20-minute stab at bettering their personal records on the new version of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
How long it takes for the metro to revolutionise Dubaiites’ lives – and personal budgets – remains to be seen. Given that the operating hours are rather ill-fitting for a society where malls shut at 1am, going on a bender still means springing for a taxi – at least on the way back, and depending on the time you step out, maybe even on the way there.
In the meanwhile, though, you can expect to see a whole webverse of metro-related content, too: there are already three Facebook groups, the launch of our very own dream engine is the top trending topic on Twitter, and already, several denizens of this shiny emirate have Youtubed (yes, that is now a verb) a video of its beginnings. And it’s only a matter of time before Catboy and Geordie Bird from Dubai 92 put out a series of Dubai Metro Blues songs about the unique characteristics of each stop en route to the airport.
Why, even the very content of our dinner-party conversations will change – instead of an endless moan about traffic and accident-causing drivers from Egypt/India/Britain/Pakistan/insert suitable nationality here, we’ll be talking about funny things that happened on the train, the rise of cellcam pervs, the fit bloke who takes the 9.17 from Jumeirah Lake Towers each morning and how easy it is to unwittingly end up stranded in Rashidiya because there were no taxis and the last train had chugged off.
I can hear the naysayers already pooh-poohing all of that, though. But I do all of that already in my car, you say, just plug my iPod in and I’m ready to roll. Sure, but I can’t imagine truly being able to appreciate a Santana solo while dodging the speed freaks on the Z. Even if you’re spared the body odour.