I Am Going to Mock Europeans, But Only Because I Am Tired

There’s a family of tomatoes, walking in a line, and the littlest one keeps lagging behind…suddenly the big tomato pounds the little one into a pulp, and yells,
“you knew this joke already!”

Ha ha. But, in Sri Lanka catsup/ketchup is called “sauce” and it’s either sweet or spicy. The spicy sauce is also sweeter than American catsup/ketchup. I can’t decide on a spelling because they both look offensively wrong. I think the best spelling is “Heinz 57.” Right. Sauce comes with lots of snacky foods in restaurants, from fries ("chips") to prawn vadai. It’s good though the sweetness gets to me sometimes as I generally prefer a vinegary tomato-based dipping condiment.

I thought I was a relative agnostic on the subject of sauce—take it or leave it, according to mood—but I made these baked mixed-veg tofu patties for dinner tonight and in sampling one for doneness, my mind said to me, “better to have with some sauce, no?” and my mind headwaggled at me. If that’s even possible. But the fact that my inner voice is speaking Sri Lankan English, and demanding sauce, is pretty hilarious. Culture shock, here I come!

And in other news… tomorrow is the deadline to sign up for the upcoming foreign service exam. I’m not signing up because I’m just not ready to contemplate a lifetime in thankless bureaucracy, though it may be offset by world travel and nice people. I did have lunch (at Yvonne and Judee’s, informally) with Debbie Sharpe-Lunstead, mother of Jenny and wife of His Honor the Ambassador Jeff; she is among the best endorsements of the foreign service or perhaps the foreign spouse service: a friendly, intelligent, liberal, strong-willed, gracious, and generous lady.

It is probably grammatically incorrect to call a person an endorsement but she’s not specifically an endorser. It is probably politically incorrect to call women ‘ladies’ anymore but given the frequency with which people call me ‘madam’ here I will be excused. It still cracks me up to be called madam.

Oh, right, the reason I had lunch with Debbie and YJM, as I abbreviate them in my appointments calendar, was that the new Kandy Library “American Corner” just opened. Lo these many years ago, before the USIS (U.S. Information Service—formerly an independent cultural diplomatic wing) was merged with the State Department, there was an American Center in Kandy. Due to funding problems it closed, leaving only the one in Colombo. They’ve reinstituted some of its presence in the main library in Kandy, where I had actually never been.

They had a big formal opening, with flags and short-eats and tea and sauce, and I got invited (by engraved invitation! but the names were handwritten) so I got all tarted up in a pretty sari and made a big show of myself around the neighborhood and in town on the way to the libe. It was a nice event and the Corner is both charmingly (pathetically) small, and dangerous—subscriptions to Harper’s and American Theatre mags, T.C. Boyle novels, posters advertising the tourism opportunities of each of the fifty states. I can only see myself, wasting precious research time, gorging on the luscious glossy pages representing the world I have largely left behind. They gave out nifty mousepads and other cool US-SL swag.

I noted that both countries have ridiculously complicated flags, as far as flags go. Perish the thought that boring-flag countries have to throw joint flagbearing events; I can only imagine the tedium of a French-Italian flagfest.

Alors, mon ami, eet ees zo… eenspiring… to see ze noble couleurs of our deux peoples togezzer like zees.
Its-a boring, is dat what-a you mean? We have-a de same-a flag!

But they would have really good wine. However: no sauce! Right, so, I should probably end on that note.


laura said...

ok... mock away, but i do sort of feel obligated to weigh in on the matter. a lot of french cooking is all about the sauce! i was particularly aware of this little fact when i was sick and tired of rich saucy dishes and wanted nothing more than some plain brown rice or steamed broccoli.

Ranger Joe said...

I suggetht you sthend your browser hereat: Audience of Two Magazine home page. Chuckles,


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