Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What an A@#hole

Truth be told, I'm feeling a little guilty. Last week I wrote of islands and adventures, of cultures and dreams, of lifetimes lived in a single day. Sure all of those things happened and all of it was great but still I feel like I'm lying to all of you just a little. It's not about what I wrote, it's about what I decided to leave out.

By the time my stories and words hit this blog they've been filtered, screened, processed, reprocessed, edited (poorly) and packaged for final consumption. Life sounds interesting and amazing but it's only one slice of the whole experience. The scraps that get left on the cutting room floor are probably the pieces that make up the majority of a life so far from home.

Last week I didn't talk of hours spent in conference rooms with my group grappling with big problems, and struggling with our different styles. I didn't talk about how crowded our little island was during the holiday week  or how the wind blasted us with a chiled air for much of the first day in paradise.

If you spoke with my consulting team I'm sure they would describe me less as an optimist reveling in a new life experience and more of an overbearing control freak with a defiant streak. A deadly combination to be sure. Our days are spent on traffic filled streets avoiding the dangers of monstrous potholes side by side with the dangers of four very different personalities forced to share an apartment, an office, a car, a job and a responsibility to our client. Every trip to the store or to the mall is an exercise in patience and cultural understanding. I thought that my background in anthropology and my previous world travels had prepared me for such an experience.

They had not.

There is less to report on the activities front except to say that a mild run-in with the local Panamanian authorities on an evening where I did not have a copy of my passport with me led to a long, drawn out process of visiting a police station and paying (see also "bribing") my way out of a very serious violation. This whole mini-adventure kept me away from a beach weekend and instead I knocked a few back with friends of friends and mainly tried to bring myself back from the ledge of "I just can't take this anymore."

So there it is, veil pulled back and truth for everyone to see. I can add only that my temperment has only been worsened by my recent move to the hot box. After half of the first night spent on perhaps the worst twin bed matress and box spring I have ever encountered (have you ever slept over a boxspring that bows almost to the floor?) my back was screaming for relief. I swapped out the bed with a double size air mattress that has caused just as many pains and problems. I wake up in the morning to the smell of a poo-filled river (see also "no AC so I keep the window open")  and a crick in my neck. I do not envy the three men who will be spending the next four weeks coupped up with me here in Panama City. Not by a long shot... 

1 comment:

  1. Only Pollyanna would see the world through blog-colored glasses all the time. I do the same filtering, but also b/c I'm paranoid that the thought police will come and have my hat. It seems a natural cycle with my expat friendies...the world is extraordinary and full of possibility and adventure--and then BLAMO all the sudden you're looking over the Can't Take It Anymore Ledge. 3 more days in the hot box?