Vienna Part 2

We finished our evening in Vienna at the residence of the ambassador of a small but friendly European country. As I entered the reception room I saw one bloke at the far end scowling at me. I had no idea who he was, but quickly discovered that he has been the head of an international mission which I criticised really trenchantly in a report we published last year. I had in fact heard that he was now in Vienna working for the Special Envoy, and knew that he was a citizen of the country whose ambassador was our host, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I decided to take the bull by the horns, strolled over and introduced myself. “So, you’re working for the Special Envoy now, I hear?”

“No!” he grumbled. It turned out he had been offered a more permanent but less glamorous job elsewhere in Vienna. I did not ask, but I suspect our report may not have greatly improved his career prospects. (Though I would add that if he had run his mission better, we would not have written the kind of report that we did.)

He found an excuse to talk to someone else almost immediately, and did not talk to me or my colleagues, or even engage in eye contact, for the rest of the evening. Fortunately it was a buffet and we dotted ourselves at will around the reception room, rather than a formal dinner with a seating plan. It would have been a bit embarrassing to have to sit anywhere near him.

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