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The Dartboard and Those Who Came Before Us

March 18th, 2010 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi

When you move into a rental, don’t you wonder who lived there before you? Maybe even the several someones who lived there before you? (Or in the case of our place in Long Beach, in a building built in 1925, the hundreds of somebodies and perhaps quite a few nobodies who lived there?)

Here at the Teeny Apartment, halfway around the world from SoCal, we often wonder who was in this little semi-furnished space before we got here. And why they put up the things they did, and bought the furniture they did.

Men? Women? A couple? Westerners? Arabs? South Asians?

I tend to think at least one resident, before us, was a Westerner.  Perhaps even a Brit.

Why? Because of the big ol’ dartboard hanging on the inside of the huge wooden door between our patio and the outside.

Who plays darts? People who go to bars, mostly.

Who goes to bars? Well, lots of people. But let’s say “mostly Westerners” … and in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, a plurality (and maybe a majority) of Westerners here … are British citizens. And Brits and bars/pubs … yes, they have a reputation for frequenting them. Where they often play darts.

So, a Brit lived here, at some point. Not too long ago, too. Because the dartboard hasn’t fallen to pieces yet, and in this climate? Extreme heat, the occasional downpour, and hung on the inside of a big door that bangs around when it’s not locked? I’m thinking a dartboard couldn’t survive more than a few years.

A dartboard on which I can still read the numbers, front and back … can’t be that old. Hence, a Brit.

The dartboard yielded up a little secret a week or so ago.

We noticed it the first time we came here, with our semi-crooked Syrian realtor, and it amused me. The semi-crooked realtor said, “All you need is arrows.” Meaning darts. But English is his second language. (And “dart” can be a synonym for “arrow” … though, no, it doesn’t work so well the other way around– “arrow” as a synonym for “dart”; the rare, one-way synonym.)

One day last week, the big dartboard ended up on the patio. Perhaps when the cleaner was here; if she didn’t lock the door, it flops around, and a gust of wind might have caused a big enough jolt that the dartboard came down.

Anyway, the crash landing … knocked loose a dart, a bit rusty but otherwise good to go, that must have been wedged in behind the board. Had no idea it was back there.

And now I can do what my British (?) fore-renter did. Play darts! Or dart. (Lotta fetching, with only one dart.)

As for the other stuff in here … we can’t believe a Westerner bought the tomato-red couches in the living room. However, I did see furniture of this color while walking through a lobby at the office and looking up at the local station on the TV. So … maybe red couches are considered a good idea in the region.

And the modern art? (Two bits of it are observable on the Facebook link,  above.) I tend to believe that Westerners bought that. But I also don’t see a guy who throws darts as someone who would buy geometric (Leah’s term) modern art. I think it would have been more likely that a woman bought that stuff.

So, we would seem to have evidence here of at least three former tenants. Someone who bought red couches. Someone who bought the modern art. And someone who bought the dartboard. (And I think at least two of them were Westerners, which would account for the tiny but quite functional as well as fairly modern/Western bathroom.)

Yes. These are things I wonder about.

And the clues we may someday leave behind. The big, black-and-white framed photo of Paris at night (with the Eiffel Tower lit up). The four 15×20-inch mirrors in a row in the living room that (we like to think) make the room seem bigger. The rattan Ikea chairs.

What will that tell the next resident? “Someone who wasn’t that crazy about the stuff that was here when they moved in,” perhaps.

Or maybe it will be someone who doesn’t think about this sort of thing. And this bizarre pastiche of stuff won’t set them to wondering at all, while they’re tossing darts into the big board on the door.


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