PAUL BENJAMIN: Writer, Editor, Supermodel

I Was a Diplomatic Housewife

Okay, I’ll admit it. That Algeria post is a monster. That really should have been about four different posts. From now on, I’ll endeavor to post shorter pieces with greater frequency.

That means you’ll have to wait to see photos from Halloween, Thansgiving, and an Uzbek wedding, as well as pics from our recent trips to Vienna and Prague. Instead, I’m going to hit you with my first time as a diplomatic spouse in an official entertaining capacity.

Last night we had a party for local press at our home. Normally this would be done at Lisa’s boss’ house, but we have a better space for entertaining, so we invited around 75 Uzbeks over to our place. My diplomatic spouse responsibilities began around 11:30 AM as I tidied up the place. At 1 PM, one of Lisa’s colleagues came by and dropped off all the food. She couldn’t stay because there was another press conference she needed to run, so it was up to me to cut up shishkabobed meat into chunks, remove skewers from samsas (savory stuffed pastries), and cut up a bunch of loaves of the local, round lepyoshka bread. I left the bread for last thinking that would be easy, but after the drive over in frigid air, I needed Wolverine’s adamantium claws to cut that stuff! (Next time I’m going to nuke each one for a few seconds before I get out the bread knife.) Later, a team from the embassy arrived with tables, plates, glasses and such. The set everything up and then Lisa and another colleague arrived to do the actual decorating. When 6 PM rolled around, we had a throng of reporters waiting outside the gate for security screening. Lisa and I opened the gate and it was like a teenager’s party from a movie, where everyone arrives all at once. I shouted out one of my favorite Bill Murray lines from Stripes “A surprise party? For me? You guys!” It probably would’ve landed better if more of the reporters had seen Stripes. spoke English. Or, y’know, spoke English.

Here’s a shot from before the crowd flooded in. I wonder what they thought about the video game plaques and my comic book covers hanging from the wall.

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When I hear stories about diplomats’ wives entertaining at their homes, I get a distinct image in my head of what that looks like. Sorry to disappoint, but I wasn’t wearing a 1960s cocktail dress with my hair up in a beehive. I don’t have any pics of myself at the party, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

I do, however, have this photo of the official backdrop from the embassy, right next to my toy display case full of battling action figures.

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I can’t show pictures of the crowd since the embassy would have to get permission from each individual, but I can show the Ambassador making official remarks. I’m pretty sure this is the first time Galactus, devourer of worlds was involved in an official U.S. diplomatic event.

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Yes, fellow geeks, that middle shelf is indeed a recreation of John Byrne’s classic cover from Fantastic Four #243 with “Everyone versus Galactus!” The top shelf is Magneto and the X-Men fighting a giant Sentinel robot and the bottom shelf is a Lord of the Rings tableau.

After the press left, it was time to clean up. Those of you who favor budget cuts will be glad to know that there was no hired help to wash up afterwards. Even the Ambassador pitched in for the clean up effort. Thanks a lot, Congress!

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