Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Stamps & Saunas
Good things: It's not often that diplomats receive public recognition. So much of what we do goes unseen and largely unnoticed, but that is the nature of the job, and sometimes going unnoticed is part of the point. Sometimes, however, certain diplomats who do the right thing in the right place at the right time can make a real difference in the lives of huge numbers of people. Recognizing this, the U.S. Postal Service issued a new set of stamps today depicting six distinguished American Foreign Service officers. The stamps were formally unveiled today and should be available nationwide tomorrow.
Bad things: DC's weather has officially entered its yearly period of unbearableness. To walk outside today is quite literally like walking into a sauna. It is the most miserable, sticky, disgusting weather, and you can actually see people physically wilt when they step from an air-conditioned building into the heat and humidity of the outside air. I learned from a British diplomat while I was in Vienna last year that Brits posted to DC actually receive hardship pay for the summer months because such weather is considered to be more than one should reasonably be asked to bear. I've half a mind to petition our government for the same. The Germans have a great word for this phenomenon: schwül. Simply uttering the word makes one's lip curl with an appropriate note of derision.