10 June 2004

What is this thing you call a "car"?

So Dirk told me that going home after living overseas would be a mild cultural shock, that there would be social nuances I'd never noticed before.

But I've lived abroad before, both as an exchange student in Madrid and as a kindergarten teacher in Uruguay. I've traveled a bit and lived all over the U.S.

In other words, it's not like I've never crossed the street by myself before.

(I may have actually been that pompous about it, too.)

But after doing without for so long, I just can't get over all the cars.

They're all over the place, parked everywhere, one right next to the other.

They drive around, all over, ignoring me, the lone pedestrian on the crosswalk.

I can't get over the people who use these cars either.

Like the ones that drive two blocks to work or three to the grocery store.

Yesterday I actually felt guilty for not riding my bike the two miles to the office supply warehouse.

So every time I step outside, I see all the cars (and, let's be honest, I live two blocks from the beach in New England, so it's not like there's *that* much traffic) and I'm in complete and total jaw-dropping awe.

And then it slowly dawns on me, "Ohhh, I have a car too."

And then, "whoah."

I like having 80-odd TV channels at the click of a button, but I don't really understand why so many exist.

And I stood stunned yesterday as a clerk tried to bag my vegetables at the grocery store.

I spoke to him as though he were a slow child: "I . . . brought . . . a . . . shoulder . . . bag."

"Ohhh," he said, impressed, eyebrows arching.

I haven't been to a true supermarket yet (just the neighborhood shop), but Moira (who just got back from Iceland) said she cried when she went to Wal-Mart for the first time.

betholindo at 12:25

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