Friday, October 30, 2009

Seen in "The Building"

Okay, so I thought I'd add a little levity to the blog (actually I have been thinking this for a while, every time I see something (someone) odd in the building. But since I am currently thinking that if I see one more reference to Matthew Hoh as a Foreign Service Officer, or even as a "rising star" or "top diplomat," my head might explode, I think now is a good time to start a semi-regular "Seen in 'The Building'" segment.

The State Department is a not a large agency by, oh, say, DOD standards, but we have a lot of people. I think there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 FSOs, about an equal number of Foreign Service Specialists, and lots and lots of Civil Servants, Foreign Service Nationals and contractors. So you know you are going to get some odd ducks. I know I am not the only person who has shaken her head and thought, "How did THAT person pass the oral assessment?" Like my wife's former boss, who's management style was tasking by post-it note. Speaking to people, not really his strong suit. REALLY not sure how he passed the oral assessment!

Okay, I suppose overseas living can make some normal people nutty. But how do you explain some of the folks that are in "The Building." By "The Building," I refer to the organic entity that most outsides call Main State or the Harry S. Truman Building. Sometimes I imagine that the folks inside are like blood cells navigating through the vessels (cooridors) carrying nutrients (paper) to the brain (the 7th floor). And some of those cells are misshapen!

Like in the elevator not long ago. There was a man, I'd guess by the fact that he was wearing jeans that he was a contractor. He was drinking diet Coke from a 2-liter bottle. But not just drinking. Chugging. For the whole trip.

It went like this: Chug, Chug Chug. Expel air in a hissing sound. BELCH LOUDLY.

Rinse. Repeat.

For the entire trip. Not just one or two floors. Like basement to 6th floor. Over and over. Without taking a break. Like he needed to finish the TWO-LITERS before he got off the elevator.

Lots of burps. Not one "excuse me." No hint of an acknowledgement that there were other people in the elevator.

Yep, some odd ducks in this building.

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