No, that's not the subject of this post - that's just a fun fact I thought you needed to know. It's all part of my new segment entitled, "Getting to Know Michel Better than you Ever Wanted To and all with Facts You Already Probably Knew." It's gonna be a hit fo sho!
Okay, so I was chatting with Liz today, and I was telling her all about my day and, after I noticed that Liz was continuing on her conversation while I had my own - it's why we're BFF's. Because we understand and accept that the other is likely not listening. It's the beauty of our friendship -- when I realized that it has been a while since I have posted about my day here. And I am sure you want to have a snapshot of the exciting world of (my version of) how diplomacy works.
Here you go: Today, I went to a meeting with a very nice Sudanese man in his office. There I was, minding my own business, pretending to listen, and having a nice conversation that actually sounded kinda like I knew what I was talking about and I was even throwing in a few big words there for good measure to demonstrate my smarticity.
And then his assistant brings in the tray of amenities for the meeting. It was a big tray of 2 cups of tea, one piece of what looked like USDA approved chocolate cake and what also appeared to be a Cinnabon Cinnamon roll.
So then I'm all distracted, right?! Because HOLY SHIT! Was that a CINNABON! It totally smelled warm and toasty. So i can't really focus on what he is saying, and the man just kept on talking....but I can't even listen because I now have this raging internal debate in my head where I am trying to game out whether I should go for the chocolate cake or the Cinnabon - because they were on two separate plates. I mean, the cake was clearly a larger portion, and had what appeared to be fudge frosting on the top, but the Cinnabon was warm and smelled like heaven.
It was a Damned Diplomatic Dilemma!!!
So then, as he is talking I'm trying to game out which one he will likely go for, and should I make a run for it, because everybody knows that Cinnamon rolls are notoriously iffy. They are either REALLY GOOD, or taste like bread. But it's UNPOSSIBLE to tell by looking at it...you gotta try it, and hope for the best. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, I've been burned by foreign cakes before. They look all tastylicious, but when you bite into it, there was obviously no sugar involved in the baking process, but for some reason there is a lotta what tastes like white bread with crisco, in it instead of sugar.
So then the man appeared to realize that I was staring intently at the table and not at him - and he says, "Would you like some tea?"
TEA? NO I DON'T WANT ANY TEA! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?
Although I was screaming this on the inside, I am a trained professional, so on the outside I said, "Oh, thank you. That would be lovely. What? Oh, no. No sugar. I am not a big sugar fan."
So then I'm really freaked now out because, WTF!? WHY DID I JUST SAY THAT!? What if he offers me the damn cinnamon roll because he KNOWS there is no damn sugar in it and I'll be stuck with a piece of dry bread with crisco on top while he scarfs down the cakilicious chocolatty goodness in front of me!
But he just hands me my sugarless tea and then grabs his fork and says, "Shall we?" But then I realized that the chocolate cake was closer to him, and it totally appeared to me at the time that he was going to for it. So, unable to control myself when faced with sugarless tepid tea and a stupid cinnamon roll, I grabbed my fork like I was in some kinda gansta gunfight, and then made an awkward lunge toward the cake.
I honestly think I might have freaked him out a little.
He goes, "Please. You like chocolate? Help yourself." (I totally swear I heard sarcasm) So then I said, "Oh no, I don't care. I like both the same " (WTF?! WHAT KIND OF STUPID LIE IS THAT!? Seriously! Now I'm starting to get pissed at myself! What the hell is wrong with me?)
So, then he says, "Why don't we just put them both on the same plate and we will share. ... and it will be the start of sharing between our countries."
February 28, 2009, at 11:22 am; the official time diplomatic relations were severed.
I think I have already articulated my feelings about sharing. I DO NOT SHARE! What part of that is not clear?
So then I'm torn between how to respond diplomatically to yet another touchy foreign relations situation. -- I mean, do I throw the cinnamon roll at him and storm out of there in a huff? Or do I just take huge bites of the cake (as if I were back on the "healthy living" plan that I was on (back in the day) when I decided that I was going to allow myself to have dessert, but I would limit myself to three bites of it, and then I pretty much figured out how to eat an entire piece of cake in three bites.)?? I mean, my options were pretty limited at this point and the fate of US-Sudanese relations were resting in my hands!
I KNOW! How exciting is this story!?!?
So then I take a bite of the cake - and it ROCKS. So, emboldened now, I take a bite of the Cinnamon Roll and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, that might be CINNABON! Obviously, I now suspect that Sudanese Government is working on a secret Cheesecake Factory Program with a Cinnabon research institute. I mean, there are a lot of indications here.
And then I hear this noise in the background, and I realize that he is actually talking to me and may have been talking to me the whole time while I was trying to determine whether the stuff really was that good, or whether I just too far removed from the real thing - like you know how that sugar free jello pudding is really yummy unless and until you taste the sugared up jello pudding? just like that....
So then I wonder for a minute if he might have said something that maybe I should have paid attention to, like, "We intend to go to war with America and I want you to know why." Or, "I showed the terrorists where you live, they said they'll be there Tuesday." But then I figured that if it was important enough, he'd tell me again.
So then, he puts down his fork and sits back on the couch to continue his discussion and I totally had free reign of the desserts. And like some kind of tourettes victim, I blurted out, "HA! I totally get the frosting! SUCKAH"
True story. I shit you not (on this one).
And he was silent... and he stared at me... and I think his mouth might have been hanging open....
And he said totally deadpan, "Typical American! Taking the best part and leaving Sudan with the dry leftovers."
So then I was silent... and stared at him... and my mouth might have been hanging open...
And then he laughed. And then I told him that he scared me because I was never good at cake metaphors! And we both congratulated ourselves our on ability to solve tense situations with our dessertey wisdom.
And then he tells me that he has always loved American cakes since he went to school in the States. SO naturally, he's my new BFF (Sorry Liz, but this man speaks "Cake" fluently.) Plus, we also agreed that words like committmmenntt and itinerariarary were too hard to try to spell, so we would just try use smaller, easier words -- So I learned something very valuable today being overseas, living in a different culture: NOBODY can spell that shit! It's not just me.
Spell Check -- making government employees all over the world appear smarter since 1996.
Get thee to an independent bookstore.
57 minutes ago