The housewife’s alcohol licence
It’s that time of year again.
Having waded my way through two passport renewals, Gerlie’s visa and ID card renewal, DD’s visa and ID card renewal, the PO Box renewal and the hoopla that is trying to amend the perennial mistakes on the car insurance renewal forms, it’s time to renew DH’s alcohol licence.Only this year there’s a problem: Apparently, I can no longer use DH’s alcohol licence. I need one all of my own.
If you live anywhere but the UAE, you may think: fantastic – get one!
But, if you live here you’ll understand straight away what a problem that is. I’m officially a “housewife” with neither salary nor status – so to get an alcohol licence in my own name involves an Awful Lot of Paperwork.
There’s a “letter of no objection” from DH, for a start. Humiliating, much? Then there’s a certificate from DH’s office saying how much he earns (there’s a formula for how much money you’re allowed to spend on alcohol in relation to how much money you earn. Who said we’d never use our algebra?). Then there’s the form itself, which requires a stamp from DH’s office. A photo. A passport copy. A visa copy. A National ID card number. And a copy of the first page of the sales agreement of the house we bought in 2004 (seriously! For once I kid you not).
So I gathered those of the documents that I could get hold of – in duplicate, for DH and for me – and presented them to DH in a folder, a Post-It note explaining which signatures, stamps, certificates and so on I needed from him in order to submit the two applications. DH picked up a pen to sign the letter of no objection, then put it down again.
“Do you really need your own alcohol licence?” he asked, a glint in his eye.
“Yes,” I said, “Unless you’re willing to do all the alcohol shopping.” I currently buy all the wine, beer, cider and spirits we need for entertaining as well as for my own personal medication enjoyment (DH drinks about a pint of cider a month, if that).
DH rubbed his hands together. “What’s it worth?” he asked, suppressing a smile.
I may have whimpered.
“Weren’t you planning to stop drinking on weekdays, anyway?” he asked, eyes twinkling.
I did my best Vicki Pollard impression: “Yeah but no but yeah but no but… that’s not the point!”
I’m leaving the forms on the kitchen counter tonight and… well, we’ll see if he takes them in the morning.