And that, my friends, is the surest way to bring on a crippling case of writer's block. Well, that, and finding yourself without a husband on a Friday night and discovering that there's still some wine in the bottom of that bottle, so you might as well polish it off, and then remembering that your best Beijing friends are currently having a reunion just down the road in Bahrain, but you are not there. And then you're just depressed, and it isn't going to be possible to come up with 700 upbeat words about the Foreign Service, but hey, you remember, I have a blog! I can write whatever I want there, upbeat or no!
And that's how you find yourself typing a blog post out of thin air on a Friday night when you could be getting paid to write, or at least you could be watching another episode of Downton Abbey and opening another bottle of wine.
So, you ask: what's new?
Well, for starters, there was my first (please also last) Jordanian fender bender this week. Yes, it was a terrific week for me. Really, really terrific. I was waiting to make a right-on-red, which is comical in itself, because Jordanians typically don't wait to turn right on red - they just pull right out there and assume you'll not be in the way. But I, as a red-blooded American, am determined to drive American-style, and so I wait to turn right into oncoming traffic, as God intended when he invented the horseless carriage.
Only in this case, I didn't wait long enough. The lady in front of me - who had already cut me off once and was really ticking me off - turned right. I looked left, saw that there was room for me to turn right as well, and so I turned. Only lady-in-front apparently changed her mind and stopped mid-turn to re-think her decision, causing me to plow into the back of her car.
Like I said: this week has been just fabulous. Terrific. Peachy, even.
We waited for a few minutes on the side of the road, and I learned that her name was Rana and she was a Syrian refugee. Nice enough lady, if somewhat under-schooled on turning techniques.
It wasn't a bad accident, as accidents go, and she was in a hurry to get her daughter to school, and I was in a hurry to get to work, and so we exchanged phone numbers and fled the scene. I don't think you're allowed to do that here. But whatever: she's Syrian, I'm American. Between the two of us, we don't even know how to turn right in this country, fergawdsake, so we both drove away. And now the whole matter is in the capable hands of Shukri the mechanic, who is going to fix up her car and charge me for it, since technically I'm probably at fault for not knowing that she was going to stop mid-turn. (Said Shukri indignantly, the next day, "She wanted me to get her a brand new bumper! But I told her no way. This bumper has been hit before. I will fix it, but I won't give her a new bumper." I love Shukri.)
So that was my car crash.
What else is new?
Well, my husband is somewhere on the eastern seaboard, presumably spending all of his free time in Trader Joes, boxing up dark chocolate caramels (and maybe some dark chocolate almonds and dark chocolate anything at all really, hint-hint) to ship to me, the love of his life. And I, the love of his life, am here, in the middle east, crashing into Syrians and craving dark chocolate and ordering lots and lots of takeout for the kids.
And work. Of course: I'm working. Because why not work full-time on top of the rest of it?
We had a high-level visitor at post last week, and I was invited - or rather, summoned - to have lunch with her. But then I was uninvited. So I happily put on jeans instead of work clothes and went off to work that day, only to be reinvited at the last minute.
Drats, I said to a co-worker as we headed out to the luncheon, and I wore jeans today because I didn't have anyone to impress.
She gave me a casual once-over before replying Also? Your fly is unzipped.
Of course my fly was unzipped. Because that's exactly how my week was going.
In other news, on Thursday I taught a little "How to Write Better" class to some colleagues here at the Embassy. It was actually my third such lecture - and thankfully, the last one I have scheduled for now. Trying to teach people to write gave me an awful case of imposter syndrome, because what do I know? I can't even come up with 700 upbeat words on life in Jordan. (Though ironically I'd bet if I counted, I'd find that this post is at about 900 words already.)
Thus we come full circle. I have managed to procrastinate my way to the end of this blog post, with still not the vaguest idea of how to begin my 700 words.
And so I think I will go teach myself to make mozzarella cheese instead. My friend Noor found vegetable rennet for me somewhere in downtown Jordan, and today I bought citric acid and fresh milk, and nothing says cool like sitting at home by yourself on a Friday night learning to make cheese.
If anyone out there has a good idea for a topic, leave it for me in the comments, would you?