Thursday, March 05, 2009

Party of واحدة

Well, here I am. Can't say that it's as I remember it, because I'VE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE. My apartment is embarrassingly huge and marbley. Honestly, embarrassingly so. Not to get overly detailed, but a bidet in three of your three and a half bathrooms seems a bit unnecessary in a country with water rationing. I'm too addled with jetlag to register much, but I'm definitely registering a sense of spatial overwhelm. If I just close a few doors and never open them again for the next two years, I think this will bring the apartment down to a more psychologically manageable, socially just size. I've posted a reminder note on the back of the front door to help stave off any sense of entitlement: "Real people don't live like this."

It's so quiet here at night; i.e., just the time that I'm waking up. Thanks to an unknowingly generous neighbor (!يا شكراً حبيبي), I'm able to access the internet and have been streaming NPR to fill the void. I don't mind the quiet, but I'm fearful of the solitude. I don't want space to think just yet. Not yet.

At the embassy, each check-in form is accompanied by the question, "Are you [drop down in tone and lean forward] alone?"

"Yes," I respond dutifully. "I am [drop down in tone and lean forward] alone." It's tempting to go into a Scarlett O'Hara-like swoon here: "Oh, but that wouldn't be the case if only Ashley hadn't been promised to his cousin!"* No spouse, no kids, no pet, no car. I need this on a t-shirt.


*Cousbandry is big in the Middle East; I think this could earn me some real sympathy points.

12 comments:

libertango said...

While it was the way to bet, I'm still glad to hear you've made it OK.

Katie said...

Thanks. I'm pretty happy to be here myself.

Lee said...

I think we're alone now...

Anonymous said...

Remember when you said:
"And now, in Hawaii, a million miles away from London and the British Library Cafe's lovely cups of latte, I find myself contemplating a whole new life occupying new and different cramped rooms in far off lands --"? 3.5 bathrooms, wow.

Sharon said...

Glad you made it safely. Looking forward to hearing about your new life.

Katie said...

To be fair, I miscounted: it's only 2 full bathrooms, and 2 half bathrooms. But still 3 bidets. Definitely not my flat in London.

Lizzie said...

I loved the idea of your sign. I'm in DC on per diem, living near Dupont, and it creeps me out. This isn't real life- but it's currently my home.

insha'allah, everything will go well with you.

Geraldine said...

So, I just have to ask...have you tried out ANY of the bidets?? 8^) Might be a good place to keep a house plant.

Kelsey said...

Congratulations on arriving at your first post!

A long-time FSO friend of mine says that you may want to hire a servant or maid for your apartment, to keep it clean and in good order for guests. Also that yeah, you're going to get a lot of surprised looks from people who find out you have no spouse/kids/pets.

I look forward to hearing how things go for you!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog while researching the life of an FSO. This is definitely a career I've been interested for a long time, and I love reading about your experiences! You describe things with wit and humor...you should write a book! :)

Katie said...

Thanks! I hope your research is going well.

Katie said...

Thanks! I hope your research is going well.