Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2, 2013

I had no choice but get up early as Willoughby had set up a meeting at nine in the morning for all the Forum officers who were going to help out with her HIV/AIDS seminar due to begin in another week. I had a small bowl of cereal and walked to the KNU Chinese Institute to find her knitting outside while waiting for the rest of the people.

Willoughby had no money on her cell phone, so we used mine to call Gulnara, Asel and Elvira with only Gulnara picking up to say she was on her way. I hadn’t seen Gulnara since the fiasco at At-Bashy, but I cordially said good morning while withholding the typical kiss on both cheeks that is practiced here among good friends.

The guard was asleep, so Gulnara rapped on the window to get his attention. When we made into the Forum office, Asel and Elvira were right on our heels. Once again, I just said good morning and didn’t stand up to get kisses while Elvira never made eye contact with me at all. In fact, she hardly spoke during the entire meeting.

Willoughby covered the tasks assigned to everyone and then we discussed the length of time allocated for each one. I’ll be making a presentation on body language and how to actually conduct a presentation.
Once that was finalized, we moved on to discuss the meeting and picnic scheduled by Forum for next Saturday. Willoughby and I both indicated our displeasure at the hasty way the picnic had been organized with no thought been given as to who was going to provide what.

I expounded on that notion by saying we should have used the occasion of the picnic as a recruiting drive by offering to pay either transportation or the main dish for the picnic. Gulnara said the organization had no money for such expenses, but offered to buy piroshkies instead.

We moved on to the topic of the election for president where members of Forum will get to choose between Asel and Elvira unless someone else throws her hat into the ring. Willoughby and I suggested writing the names of the candidates on the board, providing voters with a piece of paper to write their choices in and then the two of us would count the ballots and make the announcement.

Before leaving the group, I reminded Gulnara that I needed someone with a car to come up pick up the books and magazines I was giving away before my departure. Asel agreed to come by with her student once again to take them away.

Willoughby and I walked together as far as the Narodni supermarket so she could add money to her cell phone before heading to Johanna’s house for the barbecue I wasn’t invited to. I continued my walk home where I immediately set out to cook the pork chop I had defrosted and some polenta.

By mid-afternoon, the skies turned completely black and a blustery wind lashed at the trees before a downpour came down and the temperature dropped considerably. Fortunately, the worst of it was over before I made my way to the Opera Ballet Theater to join Willoughby for the opera “La Traviata”.

Only a few patrons had bothered to come to the theater on such a rainy and cool Sunday. We had purchased balcony seats, but were instructed to go on to the mezzanine as that section of the theater was closed.

Willoughby related that the barbecue had been well attended by embassy employees, Manas Transit Center personnel, the USAID people, lots of NGOs representatives and many, many Peace Corps volunteer who had been very happy to partake of the hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings and potato salad offered along with many choices of drinks. I really didn’t miss much.

After the function started, I got one of those hot flashes episode and was fanning myself furiously when some guy, an American, sitting in the row ahead of me and four seats to my left sidled up to me to say my fan was too loud and thus inhibiting his enjoyment of the singing. For crying out loud!

I’ve been attending this theater for the last six months and not once have I failed to use my hand-held fan. Willoughby, faithfully sitting next to me at every occasion, has never complained about the sound of the fan. What was even worse was the fact that we had patrons behind us talking or using their cell phones, and this prick never approached them to complain.

I continued to use my fan while directing darts toward the guy daring him to approach me again so I could tell him there were plenty of seats available and for him to find another place to sit. He never even bothered to look in my direction.

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