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JustHere | January 24, 2017

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Weird is good

Weird is good
Kisara Yatiyawela

Barcodes are a Doha thing to do. From cars that refuse to remove the sticker, to the virtual barcoding of the residents.

Ever wondered what’s with these Barcode Stickers we see on vehicles here in Qatar? Ink faded, edges peeling but still stuck on windows; some, large and in your face, new enough to shout ‘just got out of the showroom’; others smaller and sorry looking. Did someone forget to take them off? Nah. Can’t be… they are right there, under those – often very beautiful – noses. Glue too much of a hassle to remove, you think?

Leaving on factory fitted protective polythene on car seats – I get (though I have no idea how anyone can drive in this humidity and heat, with sticky sheets of plastic crunching under one’s butt!). The dust, the dirt, the unwillingness to spend on proper seat covers…whatever. Despite my OCD-ness, I’m willing to buy those excuses, but barcodes?

 

‘Hello. Where are you from? How long have you been here?’ Sounds familiar and very ‘barcodey’ to me!

 

I love these little quirks of this place we live in. Gives it a kind of character and humour, leaves room for some pondering and an opportunity to exercise the muscles of our imagination. Maybe, some barcode stickers are just part of the ‘flaunt and taunt’ culture of our world. Maybe some just want to hold on to the thrill of a thing, which was once new…  Anyway, I was thinking; leaving on a barcode might be a very ‘Doha thing to Do.’ Seriously.

Barcodes are designed to contain information, to tell us product names, models, who made them and where they come from, right? Think about it. Isn’t this the same kind of stuff this transient, multi-national, gloriously diverse community we live in, seek to discover about each other within five minutes of meeting? ‘Hello. Where are you from? How long have you been here?’ Sounds familiar and very ‘barcodey’ to me!
When it comes to products with barcodes, given the right type of equipment we can read the information embedded in them; getting to know them better, learning more. I guess when it comes to us lot, the right ‘equipment’ would include a good deal of friendliness, a healthy dose of respect, lots of curiosity, exchanges of peace, extended hands and as many smiles as we can muster. That’s how we are going to get to know each other, rolled off production lines anywhere from East to West, North to South, one unique model at a time.

So see, leaving on a barcode here isn’t as weird as it seems (Ok, fine! It’s pretty weird) But hey, I like weird. Weird is good … because it sure is a whole lot better than boring!

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