Our Foreign Service motto from day one has been "Hey, if we're living overseas, why spend all of our time with Americans?" To our credit, we have developed a fairly decent social network based on this philosophy. While we are on friendly terms with the other officers, and do attend functions both private and consular related, most of our personal time is spent with our local friends.
But...maybe this is to our detriment. Or maybe not. I'm not sure, but I do know that we've developed a reputation at the Consulate as "Aaron & TJ: They're probably busy." Apparently, our ability to befriend the locals is admired, but also has the unintended consequence of making us look, at best, unavailable, and at worst, disinterested. This definitely isn't the message we wish to convey, and it was with this in mind that we invited several coworkers to join us for the 5:25 viewing of "The Black Swan" after work today.
Surely there could be no harm in this, right? It was a popular movie this year. Natalie Portman won an Oscar for it. Why, she even got raving reviews from Mike Huckabee. Well, he raved, anyway. But other than the critical acclaim, we weren't very familiar with the movie. Living in Mexico does, unfortunately, cause one to be a little behind on American pop culture.
And so, there we were, the two of us, two other FSOs (Foreign Service Officers) one MOH (Member of Household), and an LES (Locally Employed Staff). We had our popcorn. We had our nachos. We had our sodas. We had four Consulate-affiliated friends beside us, proving that we aren't always busy, and we are interested. This was going to be the start of something great.
And then we sat through 108 minutes of Natalie Portman alternating between either going insane or doing things to herself and having things done to her that should have relegated this flick to a minimum rating of NC-17.
Everyone left the theater feeling a bit awkward and I must admit that, although I enjoyed the company immensely, I do have to consider the possibility that we may have been better off hanging out with our local friends tonight.
Next time will be a Disney flick, guys! I promise!