Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

It’s the (takes a deep breath) WEEEEEEEEEEK EEEENNNNNNNNNNND! (dances around chair, hugs refrigerator, rejoices)

Well, I’m well on my way to completing everything that’s on my weekend to-do list. So far I’ve already slept in, had a leisurely breakfast and managed to not change out of my pajamas, so I’m off to a good start! Now all I have to do is catch up with my email and sally forth into blogistan.

(Later today I will clean the house and go swimming, and later this evening I will groan about tomorrow being Monday. Then my weekend ritual will have reached completion.)

I have bits and pieces for today’s blog. Just bits and pieces.

Bit Number One: Words that should be words, but aren’t words, but should be, so there.

Anemies -any of an order (Actinarea) of flower-like Anthozoan sea polyps having a firm, often large, gelatinous body as well as a hostile disposition and a tendency towards enmity.

Calcurat- any of numerous long-tailed rodents of various families (esp. Muridae and Circetidae) with exceptional mathematical skills or the innate ability to do long division. See also Ratador.

Canamel- a camel that practices cannibalism. – vt.- to canamelize.

Ratador- any of numerous long-tailed rodents of various families (esp. Muridae and Circetidae) whose specialty is killing the bull with a sword thrust at the end of a bullfight after performing a series of formalized actions with a cape to anger and tire the animal.

(what, me cheat at Scrabble? He he…)



Bit Number 2: The ISI and I

Oh yeah, and I was tailed by the ISI. I can’t remember what ISI stands for, but it’s the Pakistani CIA, or M-16 or whatever gov’t bureau is supposed to play spy games and do sneaky stuff in really sneaky ways. I left one of the embassies after teaching a class one day and a man walked up to the car window just I was buckling up. He knocked on the glass and I cautiously opened it an inch and said “What?”

He very politely (and even simperingly) asked me what my name was and what I was doing at the Embassy of (insert name of former Soviet-Bloc nation). I told him it was none of his business, since my coming and going at the embassy was already cleared and he (for all I knew) wasn’t connected to the embassy. He wasn’t wearing any uniform, he was just some guy who, up until two minutes ago, had been sitting on the curb outside the embassy gate.

He mumbled something that sounded like “ghar ki” (the house’s) and I was like “ghar ki what?.” He said it again and the phrase turned out to be “sekur-ti” (as in, “a matter of SECURITY”). I told him I was an English teacher and then I drove off.

I didn’t hear anything from him, or see him for a few weeks, but then one evening, as I’m getting ready to go to a reception hosted by the very same embassy, Aniraz comes into the room and says with the weirdest look on her face, “Hey Abez, there’s someone here to see you.”

I was like, who? I never get visitors. She said, “It’s the ISI.” I was like oh come on, don’t be silly. Who’s downstairs? “Really, it’s the ISI,” she said, “What have you been up to?” We had a nervous laugh over that and I went downstairs where I saw…the same guy. It turns out that he traced my license plate number and was here to get my passport number and my ID and stuff like that, and to ask me what I was doing, coming and going from the embassy all the time.

To make a long story short, he couldn’t show me any ID, so I wouldn’t show him mine. (not to be snooty, but American passports sell for around a million (ten lakh) rupees here. I would know, we’ve had offers.) I don’t care where the guy said he was from, a weirdo at my gate with no ID does NOT get my passport number. He confessed that he didn’t know I was a foreign national, if he had known, he would’ve come with ID. (Officer Friendly says: never open your door unless the police office shows his badge, kids.)

Finally, he gave me his name and phone number at the ISI office to verify that he worked there, and once I was satisfied, I was supposed to give my passport number. Before leaving he swore me to secrecy, and told me that no one at the embassy was supposed to know that the embassy was being watched, because he was an undercover operative. (oooh, aaah) After he left I called the American Embassy instead and they sorted it all out for me.

I guarded my ISI secret very carefully and a little nervously, I was good too, I never told anyone, until one day, I was on the phone with another English teacher who worked at the embassy before I did. She was telling me how glad she was to no longer be working there.

“So many times my student would be out of the country but he wouldn’t even have told me so I would show up for class and he wouldn’t be there,” she said, “And on top of that, that silly ISI man followed me around until he figured out where I lived.”

I laughed out loud and said, “Oh no, you too!”

“Yes, and of course I complained to the ambassador,” she said, “And he apologized but what can you do?”

Once I realized that the embassy knew it was being watched by the ISI, I told my student, not about myself, but about the other English teacher being followed by the ISI. “Oh that guy,” he laughed, “We know about him. He’s always sitting outside the gate.”

And that is the end of my adventures in the sneaky and *cough cough* dangerous world of diplomacy and political intrigue.

Bit Number 3: More bits.

Let the newts have a proper education! –Karel Copek., War With The Newts

But I was thinking of a plan

To dye one’s whisker’s green

And always use so large a fan

That they could not be seen. –Lewis Carrol, The White Knight’s Song

“Ale man, ale’s the stuff to drink

For fellows whom it hurts to think..” -A.E.Houseman. From “Terrence, This is Stupid Stuff.”

Tell me, O Octopus, I begs,

Is those things arms, or is they legs?

I marvel at thee, Octopus:

If I were thou, I’d call me Us.” –Ogden Nash, The Octopus.

Bit Number 4: Links

Mysterious link number 1. oooohhh

Mysterious link number 2, scary…

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