Wednesday, September 12, 2012

OBE

Sitting in a meeting that seemed almost comic in its poor timing, listening to phone calls that I was not intended to hear, watching decisions get made then unmade then fretted over then remade all in seconds...  Where to cast your gaze in these moments is a challenge -- to look over or under attentive would be rude.  I shrink into the couch cushions, an exercise in polite unobtrusiveness.  Discussions of legal obligations toward the deceased bring on some tongue biting -- this is not my loss, and no one needs my "former ACS officer" viewpoint.  Maybe I have learned something in 7 years.

People run in and out with updates, breathless, a stream of urgent interruptions.  We really shouldn't have tried to carry on this meeting as scheduled, but we almost can't help ourselves.  We're diplomats, dammit.  Grab your pen and notepad and soldier on.  Maybe we can talking point our way out of this crisis.

I keep my eyes focused on the large, never-been-opened coffee table book in front of me:  "Libya -- Land of Treasures."

And I think about how our bureaucracy isn't designed to process grief.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope things get better there.

Katie said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I always think of you when I hear of incidents like this reported on the BBC. I experience relief that you are safe, followed by a prayer for you and others like you who are having to deal with the aftermath of such events. We are praying for you.

Pam

Katie said...

Thanks, Pam. It's hard watching my friends be impacted, but we're well.

TravelSeminar/a said...

I'm a former FSO with M.S. and I really like your blog. Here's a link to a shout out I gave you. Keep up the good work. http://www.gadling.com/2012/10/02/a-traveler-in-the-foreign-service-the-best-foreign-service-blog/

Katie said...

That's kind of you -- thanks. I hope the MS isn't why you left! Most of my thoughts on it I keep to myself nowadays, but I've been mulling over an issue that might turn into a blogpost. We'll see. Meanwhile, I hope things are well with you.