Culture shock

by

Coming home was a horror. I’d been looking forward to going back to NY for days, maybe even weeks, but it was awful. As I tried to board my plane from Oaxaca to Houston, security forced me to leave my molcajete behind because it was in my carry-on and it was too late to put in in the luggage I had already checked. But I managed to be Zen and get on board, reminding myself how crowded my kitchen is with gadgets, except that two hours later, I arrived at an American airport where everyone was decidedly not Zen. The girl in front of me in line at immigration made a constant stream of loud, unpleasant noises about how she was going to miss her flight. The sense of self-importance was frighteningly, recognizably American. When I went to the cash register to buy my NY Times, the clerk looked at me like I had just given her yet another reason to hate her life. I sat down in my seat on a crowded plane for the Houston-NY leg, and the elderly woman next to me barely mustered a response to my hello, my English translation for the “buenos dias” I’ve gotten so used to saying to anybody and everybody. (To be fair, she was quite nice to me later, but I’d gotten so used to the Mexican way of assuming everyone is nice, instead of waiting to see.)

It got worse. For our “dinner/snack,” Continental served “pizza” and a “salad.” I am not putting those words in quotes to be cute. There was something seriously demented about the “food.” The pizza, which was supposed to be steak and cheese, also declared that it was “Made with Ranch Dressing.” And they’re bragging about this? It made the bready slice of Papa Johns pizza I had gotten before the flight seem like the finest Neopolitan pizza in retrospect.

I considered eating the salad, trying to garner at least some nutritional benefit, but as I looked at plastic container filled with pieces of iceberg lettuce and a few sad shreds of carrot at the bottom, I realized I would lose more than I gained by putting the creamy dressing on it. I was better off eating the little Kit-Kat bar for the calcium in the chocolate.

The worst thing about it is that everyone else ate their snack, all of it. They were hungry, I’m sure, and maybe they didn’t even notice how bad it was. I almost felt like rising up, like a labor organizer, “Demand your rights to decent food! We don’t have to put up with this!”

But I didn’t. Welcome home.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Culture shock”

  1. Isaac Says:

    Welcome back to the world of Taco Bell and Wal-Mart, G! Sometimes I think we have the worst mass culture on the planet.

  2. Erin Says:

    Oh man, a vicarious shiver went down my spine as soon as I saw the picture at the top of your post. It’s always the re-entry part of culture shock that gets you, eh? Estoy pensando en ti, amiga.

  3. AppleSister Says:

    Gracias a ustedes! Since I spent yesterday eating a bagel, Korean raw-fish bibimbap, and a big bowl of Korean cold noodles, I feel much better.

  4. Jarrod Says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the
    same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that
    service? Cheers!

  5. surgeon simulator 2013 keyhole surgery achievement Says:

    Thanks in support of sharing such a good idea, piece off writing is pleasant, thats why
    i have read it completely

  6. world of warcraft download Says:

    This article is really a pleasant one it helps new internet people, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: