Sites (Sunday, 2010 June 27)

June 29, 2010
  • Title: Sites
  • Today’s Date: Sunday, 2010 June 27
  • Instructor: Ethan
  • Purpose: To inform about what has happened in the last few days.
  • Objectives: At the end of this session, readers will be able to:
    • repeat correctly at least one funny thing I’ve written
    • recognize the name of my post
    • feel bad for me

It’s rainy season here, which means in theory it rains sometimes. It hasn’t really so far, but I’m ever hopeful. There were a couple of days last week when it really let loose, but lately it’s just been the occasional drizzle. I love the rain, obviously, because it makes things a little cooler, plus it’s the only time I have running water, so I just don’t feel it’s rained enough.

Going to the bar has continued apace; I’ve gone three or four times this week. Only drank a couple of times; also had a boisson gaseuse (soft drink) called Top. (Top makes lots of sodas; I favor the pimplemousse, grapefruit flavor, which doesn’t taste much like grapefruit.) When I feel up to it I favor a drink called Whiskey Black, which is bottled in the same quantity as beers (0,65L) but is a little stronger (8.5% instead of 6.5%ish). Here one does not order mixed drinks like Whiskey Black and Gin Tonic but instead quaffs from bottles produced by Canada Dry. They’re perhaps not mindblowingly high quality but they’re much more drinkable than e.g. the other exotic Cameroonian beverage, wine in a juice carton.

But one time after the bar I ran across Julia. She needed some help with her regulator, and after that we talked a little bit about the bar and hanging out there. She introduced me to the concept of FOMO, "Fear Of Missing Out", which is a meme that crystallizes a phenomenon I’ve been struggling with for a few years. Julia is the clearest person here; she doesn’t really play simian mind games and it’s really refreshing. She also went to school at NYU, so we can talk about NYC in a real way. I think Gus would really like her. Whereas Jenny for instance has a tendency to start laughing hysterically over nothing, or say things that come a little bit out of left field. She reminds me of VY.

FOMO is what makes you go to the bar even when you didn’t have a good time last time you were there, and even though you don’t expect things to be different this time. FOMO is what makes me read 150 news items every day, even though most don’t interest me. FOMO is what encourages you to keep a list of things you have yet to listen to, even though most of it is going to be garbage.

We received our posts the other day. I’m going to Batié, which is in the West region. The name of my division is Hauts-Plateaux ("high plateaus") which bodes well for me in terms of finding a livable climate. I’ve heard there is a lot of mud there, but I feel like I’ll cope better with mud than with heat. Of course, in reality we’ve learned next to nothing (it’s just a dot on a map). We have a sense of who is near us, and who is far — and, truth be told, I’m a little bummed that so many cool people like Julia and Rosalie and Jessica W. are being sent to the East or to the Extreme North, many hours away — but we really won’t know much about our sites until we go to them this week.

Astride also received her post, it seems; she’s leaving tomorrow for a job in Yaoundé. Nadege was supposed to go with her, but apparently Nadege’s training got bumped to August, so she’ll be here for most of the time I’m here. But Astride’s out of here. She spent some time tonight asking me whether I was sad, happy, or angry. In truth I’m none of these, maybe a little relieved, but mostly it’s a life-goes-on thing. For her it was a big deal; her "last night" here with me. I guess I’m inured to "last nights", hmm?

Lastly: I passed the room inspection, plus or minus. I also seem to be getting better at doing laundry; Claude gave me the "starting to actually clean clothes a little bit well" ranking today. Last night a critter that could have been a giant insect or a small bird got "stuck" in the pool of light on the veranda, causing both me and Claude to flee indoors. I refilled Ben’s bottle of hand sanitizer (which I lent him) from my larger bottle of hand sanitizer (he promised to pay me back when his shipment comes in). We chose Allison to be our "chef du departement" for ICT. And I still have a hard time believing this is a real thing that is really happening.

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