Where I’m at: Brazzaville, t-minus 6 days to Pointe Noire, 8 to Paris, 9 to Quebec, and t-minus 14 back to the U.S.!
What I’m doing: shamelessly stealing the name of the movie I’m watching for a blog post title
Why I’m posting: publicly shedding light on my emotions (what’s new?!)
It’s official: my testosterone level has reached near zero. It’s been a stressful few weeks with Colleen leaving town, one health problem after another with the dog, a lot of work and only a little play, and the fact that my recommitting myself to writing, tennis, and lawyering has made me realize that I’m gradually lose skills I once marginally had. But honestly, it’s just that I’ve always been an emotional kid and watching the movie Julie/Julia was bound to make me tear up even if I was holding a beer, wearing an A-frame, and somehow sitting on a lawn mower in my living room. Or maybe that after a day of working on intellectual property reports at work, blogging about a writer’s blogging about a writer is just too much irony for one man to take. (Also ironic that I identified more with Julia Childs than her diplomat husband?)
In any case, being in Brazzaville is getting to me right now and I thought that in our continuing quest to reveal the previously largely-unknown world of this Congo, I’d clarify that this time, it has nothing to do with poor city planning, pollution, or the fact that apparently a snake just bit my dog (there’s got to be an awesome tattoo design in that somehow). No, this time, it’s getting to me because at times, the foreign service just seems so…foreign. I’m closing in on getting back to the States for a few weeks and all the “normalcy” that comes with it. But it’s also reason for me to look around at the people around me to see that, well, I don’t always see eye-to-eye with them on some things that were foundational reasons why I joined the foreign service. There’s been an extended argument passing around the office about immigration (often illegal immigration) and the American Dream. Call me crazy, but I thought that diplomats wanted to go out into the world and extol the virtues of America, including its historic openness. Forget the statistical arguments and facts (which I assure you are plentiful, but this is a piece about emotions, damn it!, and numbers don’t have a place here…see? I’m going to be a politician someday after all!). I’ve always been of the mindset that things we put onto paper – like, say, the Constitution – or better yet, bronze and stone (e.g. the base of the Statue of Liberty) were promises we made to the world and ourselves. I was also of the mindset that what made America the dominant power in the world for much of a century was our ability to get the best that everyone has to offer – even if it’s not much – and devote it to a common goal. Others apparently think I’m wrong, at least when it comes to keeping “the Mexicans out.”
That’s a mishmash of a few different arguments that I’ve been having lately, not necessarily all with diplomats (lest you think I’m trying to sully their/our good name). Though I do appreciate that airing publicly one side of an argument is also ironically contradictory to a significant part of the aforementioned movie.
If nothing else, this post is a) an info dump to let you know that, Momma, I’m coming home (nb: another acceptable reference would have been: Rounding third/Paris and heading for home), b) I miss America and all the people I’ve known that have made it more than just a place on a map, and c) a PSM to diplomats to not be d!cks because you represent America and all that’s great and horrible about it (PS: 152nd, you guys rock! true story…photo evidence immediately below).
Thanks for reading- I promise to put something more interesting up next time (nb: that’s the 4th and final irony for this post, see below for why).
Who said it: Julia Child
Why it’s relevant: in for an inch (of plagiarism), it for a mile/lawsuit
The quote: “No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”