Monday, October 20, 2008

Wherein I Meet Someone Important

Today on the bus in Rome, I met a very important personage: the Bahaman Ambassador to Europe. So while the rest of you were trying to break through your employer's adult content filter to download bootleg pictures of Scarlett Johansen kissing Penelope Cruz, I was hobnobbing with international movers and shakers.

It happened like this:

The first thing you do when you get on a plane in Rome is you wait on a bus for about fifteen minutes. They do this in order to save valuable jet fuel by parking far away from the airport, and to provide gainful employment for surly bus drivers.

So we waited, and waited, and waited. We'd been waiting for about ten minutes when one woman asked the lady standing next to me "You're going to Brussels?"

"Yes," the lady responded.

"Oh, no!" said the woman, and she jumped off the bus and ran away.

There was a moment of stunned silence from everyone in the bus. "You know," I said to the lady next to me. "She just assumed you were correct."

"I guess I look like I know what I'm doing," she said.

"I believe I'd have asked somebody else if they were also going to Belgium. It's entirely possible that you were the one on the wrong bus."

Well, we got a big laugh out of that, and then proceeded to discuss what had brought us to Rome. I mistakenly assumed she was American, but she told me she was from the Bahamas. When I asked her what she was doing in Rome, she said:

"I'm on an ambassador's visit to Rome."

"Wow! You're an ambassador?"

"No," she admitted. She pointed to a very nicely-dressed man standing nearby. "He's the ambassador. I'm the political officer."

I would now describe what a political officer did, only she didn't describe it to me all that well, and admitted that it's kind of vague. I got the feeling it involved doing a lot of stuff for the ambassador that he didn't feel like doing, and attending boring meetings while he hobnobbed with monarchs.

She's actually the second political officer I've ever met, and the other one didn't describe the job nearly as well as she did. He just told me he has to work long hours, which was enough to let me know it's a job I never want to have. I'm still hoping to replace George Jetson someday soon.

However, I can share with you these facts about the ambassador of the Bahamas to Europe:

1) He has a very nice political officer, since she introduced me to him while we were waiting to board the plane. I didn't think much of her taste in shoes, though, and I told her that three inch heels were probably not appropriate for travel. She admitted as much, but said it's a risk of the job. And to think, I complain because I have to wear a tie to work sometimes!

2) He wears bitchin' suspenders. I didn't tell him this, although I did mention it to his political officer, and she said he'd be delighted to hear that. When she introduced me, she mentioned that I liked his suspenders, and I then complimented him on them, although without the expletive. I'm a moron, not an imbecile. He took it as graciously as you can.

3) He wears cufflinks, and they are quite nice. Why don't more men wear cufflinks? It's a little bit of extra bling that you can stick on your shirts to personalize them, and it opens up a whole new non-tie avenue of gift-giving. I'm thinking a cufflink revival is overdue. Why did we stop wearing them? Plus, wearing cufflinks means that fewer buttons will be harvested every year, which will probably be good for the environment, unless we buy cufflinks from China or something, in which case they'd be made of tri-methyl-ethyl-lead and lead to a worldwide clubfoot pandemic or something.

4) He's very nice. Even though he was forced to shake hands with some idiot on the tarmac in Rome, he handled it with grace, and laughed, and chatted with me a little bit. He's the third most important person I have ever shaken hands with. The first is a US ambassador, and the second is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

5) He wears a Bahamas flag pin on the lapel of his suit. I didn't even know these existed. Do you suppose that a lapel flag pin exists for every country? Probably so, except for maybe Canada, where the natives are embarrassed and wearing them is probably illegal.

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