Friday, October 3, 2008

Brief as Photos - 9: The Senior Spouse

It was going to be a summer of great changes for us. My husband and I have finally decided that it was time to leave the Service. And I could not say that I felt terribly unhappy about this decision. As much as we loved representing our country, and learning about new cultures and exploring new places, reality has been staring us in the face for many years now. It had been extremely difficult to find work in my field and I have not been particularly good in mixing with the coffee crowd nor happy to be a trailing spouse. We have decided that my time has come. We were excited at the prospect of starting a new life back home.

“Do you have your tickets for the fashion show?” a high pitched voice behind me interrupted my thoughts.

“I’m not sure we’re going,” I replied. The question came from the wife of a senior officer at the Embassy. She was also the president of the local American Women’s Club and the main organizer of the annual fashion show.

She gave me a crooked smile. “You do realize who writes your husband’s EER, don’t you?” she asked sweetly.

Holy crap! This old bat just threatened my husband’s career for not attending her fashion show? That must be why her events were ever so well attended by embassy folks. She knew how to persuade with sugar and spice.

“Oh yes!” I replied with a five-inch smile then excused myself. If we were “newbies,” I probably would have had second thoughts about my husband’s career, but she picked on the wrong, "ready to move on," demographic.

Now this story would have ended after this brief encounter except that the senior spouse could not leave it alone. That night, I got another mass email from her, advertising the remaining tickets for the fashion show, pointedly asking those who have not yet purchase their tickets to do so. She did not even have the courtesy to put the email addresses on blind carbon copy. So there was nothing else to do but reply politely. And before I knew it, the keyboard went clickity clack:

Dear Mrs. Senior Spouse:

Thank you very much for your email.

Since you reminded me so very clearly today that your husband writes my husband’s Employee Evaluation Report (EER), we have changed our minds and are now anxious and eager to attend your annual fashion show. Please reserve the following tickets for us:

#1 ticket for my husband[the one your husband rates]

#1 ticket for myself[I could use some fashion sense]

#1 ticket for Ozzie[She won’t bite/bark]

#3 tickets for my neighbor’s triplets [We have borrowed these toddlers especially for the occasion]

Thank you again for your thoughtfulness. I will leave the money for 6 tickets at the CLO office. We look forward to seeing you at your fashion show.

Sincerely yours, XXX

I re-read my email quickly; made sure I had it on “reply to all,” then clicked the “send” button.

I could not say how it all went because we never did get our tickets. I could tell though that Ozzie was happier playing with packing boxes than she would have been under the skirts and gowns at the show.

I did hear that the senior spouse went on vacation shortly after but we got busy packing out.

Read: About this series and the All Persons Fictitious Disclaimer

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