3/21/2006 7:31:56 PM
Greetings again all. This is yet another post that you shant have have the opportunity to read until the day after I posted it. Hopefully this is an issue we will be able to correct over here. I haven't been able to communicate with most of you except through this medium, but I hope this finds you well and in good spirits. Myself, I am taking this time to write in an attempt to lift my spirits. It has been a long and tedious day. Delay after delay plagued us at the site today so I have made plans tomorrow to bury myself in the physical side of my work and to leave this cursed laptop alone for one day. I will hop online, briefly, to make this post, but most likely will not be online as much as the last few days.
To Bannag: On the subject of my numerical stoisicm in regards to our little game.
I got your email today and I would like to inform you that I have checked with the powers-that-be and no, we have in fact NOT been stuck on Question #317 for as long as you might think. In fact, I was forced to defend you to the powers-that-be for being so lackadaisical in your duties as a member of this aforementioned game! So, now, to preserve my dignity and to answer the question which you originally asked, I will take a moment to try to remember exactly the nature of the question. (I'm politely NOT going to mention that we were in fact on #311, but instead I'll give you the benefit of your advanced age and accept that maybe your memory is slipping.)
What is the oddest thing I've seen since I've been in Tripoli?
Now, the delay in responding to your question actually puts me in a better position to answer it correctly. (Come to think of it I have just been struck with a thought that this application could be applied to every question ever asked of another person? This breeds new questions in and of itself; fuel for the game. When IS the right time to ask a question? When is the right time to answer a question? Remind me of this part later and I'll address it in context if I can remember the context that's currently relevant in my mind.)
So, in answer to your question, I will attempt to skip past the obvious answers that come to mind, such as:
- Looking down on my plate and seeing dog.
- Looking down on my plate and seeing pigeon.
- Picking animal bones from my food from time to time. (Yeah, that happens)
- Explaining to others what that little garden hose by the toilet is for. (With and without graphic representation)
- Explaining to Mike that the other bowl is in reality NOT a second toilet so he should refrain from peeing in it.
The absolute oddest thing here that would really surprise you back home? Hmm.. quite possibly the cultural insignificance associated with punctuality and time in-general. People here; individuals, businesses, and retail stores, restaurants, and others. None of them have any notion of punctuality or time. For example, I will set a lunch meeting, or an evening meeting with a broker, manager, or other individual and it will be completely expected for them to arrive 5 minutes late, 30 minutes late, or four hours late. However, the whole time they are late, they will continue to call you every two minutes to let you know that they are "fill-in-the-blank" minutes away. Example; I'm waiting downstairs for the broker to take me to see one of the villas we're thinking of getting over here. He calls at 5:50 when he was supposed to be here at 5:30 to tell me he's almost here. In fact, he's seven minutes away. I remember remarking to myself "wow, not 5, not 10, but seven minutes... hmm." Ten minutes later he calls me and tells me he's eighteen minutes away now. Traffic is bad he tells me. Wow. Not only is he late already, but now he's three minutes past his seven minutes and thinks that his eighteen minutes is actually to be expected. It's as if Allah came down and moved his car back across town without telling him. I was at first upset and thought that this was just the man I was dealing with. However, I soon found out that it is in fact the whole culture.
However, that being said, since they know that WE are Americans; they know we are punctual creatures. So when I am two minutes late for whatever reason, I am forced to sit through a dissertation from the locals about how us Americans are not very punctual and we are the ones who are always concerned with time. I think, truly, that they take an odd sort of pleasure from the concept of playing with our time-tables. That, my dearest Bannag, is the oddest thing that I have seen since I've been here.
You know me, perhaps better than anyone alive. Considering the things you know about me, my personality, and my way of looking at things, answer me this:
What aspect of "me" do you most expect to see changed when I return to America? What parts of me do you think will be different, if any, and how? How will it affect me? How will it affect my relationships with others? (You had better put some thought into this one you fruitcake.)
End of the "Bannag Rant"
Called to the principal's office:
My CEO called me into his office today with a small issue that he wanted to address regarding the use of this blog. He was perusing it the other day (wait right there: how in the world did HE find spare time???) Anyway, he politely asked me to be a little less forth-coming with regard to things that are released to the world at large. So, for those of you who wonder why the posting about my day might be a little less detailed, that is why. I told him that I had been attempting to keep things vague enough that it would not be a concern. He did caution me to exercise a little tighter control over what gets released to everyone on here. So, yes I will still continue to update you all on what I am doing, but just be aware that "names may be changed to protect the innocent." I would like to politely comply with his wishes, rather than have him ban the use of the site from their servers.
What else has happened today: The Rest of the Story:
Well, it was hot today. Today was the second day in a row where we began to even feel the "beginning" of what desert heat is like. The arid dryness of the climate, mixed with the loose orange sandy topsoil of this desert region makes windy days a hard thing to deal with. I'm sure however, that being here in the beginning of the year will make it a little easier to acclimate later in the year when it really IS hot over here.
Currently it is 8:22 now here in the hotel and I have just finished picking at the room service I ordered for dinner. It wasn't great, but after the day we have all had today, we felt like staying in an retiring alone to our separate rooms for some quiet time. It's been a very long day today. I called the day "over" at about 6 PM when Bombadil and Mojo almost got in to it. King spent all day today with the warrior princess, working on inventory and making their poor gay-well-dressed executive helper work himself nearly to death. I spent the day in meetings with Mojo, Gollum, and Beaker, which is just about as bad as being left to die in a scorpion infested trench in the middle of a sahara summer.
Important Update: The "What's up" with Doc
i love it when I make a funny! Anyway, I spoke to Doc today. He popped on Yahoo briefly and I took a moment to talk to him. I haven't been able to see him or talk to him since he left for Super Friends Qualifications. (Special Forces Selection). We spoke briefly and talked about how things are here, how things are there, and what his plans are. He did pass all his qualifications for Super Friends, so that's the good news. The bad news is that they're sending him to Iraq anyway in the summer. He'll be gone for a year, after which he'll return and continue his training in the special forces. Hopefully, things will work out where I'm home before he leaves and we will be able to catch up a little bit. I know a lot of you have been asking about how he's doing and I thought I'd let you all know what was up. I don't know where in Iraq, why in Iraq, but he's going to Iraq. I'll update more later as I find out details:
Chapter 5: Sunlight Shines On My Day Finally!
Well, without going into too much detail, which would be a breach of both etiquette and my job description, I can happily say that something wonderful came out of my day's various attempts at extinguishing fires. One of my guys gets to call his significant other and let them know the good news: He got a raise. And a nice significant one too I'm glad to say. This one of the guys I've worked with for many years that's much deserving of some appreciation. I try to make sure he gets it from me and from the team because we depend on him to do all our jobs at this company, but financial remuneration is always a great way to show that you're appreciated... and praise don't pay the rent!
So, with that happy note, I am calling it a night. It's 11:45 now. I've had two meetings, two calls from work in the states, and plenty of interruptions to my blog event, so I hope you people appreciate the determination it takes to actually manage to complete a letter while over here. I have, at any one time, a minimum of six people talking to me and calling me all day and all night and a maximum of about forty people during the daylight hours. Private time over here takes on a whole new meaning.
Until next time, I bid you all adieu and hope you are all well. Please write me often.
PS: If anyone wants to be a contributing "author" (someone who can write their own posts, rather than just comment on others) please leave a comment on here with your email address in it and I will make sure to email you an invitation to the blog team so you too can post. Otherwise, I'm afraid you will have to put up with a running conversation from only me, Tom, Shak, Twitterpaited, mom, and Hannah.
PS again: Hannah, April, and Mom: I love you three ladies and I miss you all. I'll post a few more pics.
APRIL: Call Mom about the hat issue I told you about. Brad is leaving next Monday or Tuesday and he can bring the hats with him when he comes if you can get them overnighted to our house in Greenville. Please someone make sure this gets handled. It's very hard for me to communicate digitally with everyone during hours that you're actually all awake!
Talk to you all soon.