Sunday, October 02, 2011

Dating in 1984

Seeing tensions rise over the past week has been a strange experience -- strange in that you have to carry on with your everyday job like nothing is happening, though secretly you're performing a mental inventory of the items in your 'go bag'. "So, uh, did you still want to partner with us on this grant? I mean, of course, we assume you do, just, you know, just checking." Twist the phone cord around your finger while watching with a combination of horror and bemusement as the proverbial volley goes back and forth overhead. "Hey, really sorry I couldn't make that meeting. Oh, just a few protestors outside, you know how it is. Nice weather, yeah?"

Honestly, George Orwell couldn't have scripted a better media reaction. I'm not saying the U.S. is popular here, but that was a pretty quick press slide to the full-on enemy role (sometimes with musical accompaniment!). There were some thoughtful pieces, though. One of my favorites described the eventual bilateral rapprochement as less of a kiss-and-make-up than "an awkward one-armed hug." Our diplomatic relationship does seem to swing between a bromance and an ill-conceived prom date. Good thing I'm just working on that people-to-people ties thing.

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