Monday, August 29, 2011

The Spectrum.

The last time I visited the U.S., I called someone "sir" in English for the first time ever.  
He helped me get my bag down from the overhead compartment, and I said, "Thank you, sir."  It just slipped out.  It was weird.  I'm from California: we address groups of elderly ladies as "you guys."  We call our parents "dude."  We don't say "sir." 
It made me realize how much I've acculturated to my adopted country: the effusive politeness, especially when dealing with an elder, has become second nature.  I don't have the entire script down, yet, though: a real, old-school resident of Tlacochahuaya can draw out a simple "thanks" into a ten-minute exchange. 
It's that way with a lot of things: I'm stuck somewhere in the middle, no longer entirely comfortable in my home culture, but nowhere near being Mexican.  Look!  I made you a poorly formatted chart!

San Jose
My Little World

Person A: Thanks.

Person B: Sure. 

Person A: Thank you, sir/ma’am.  Very nice of you. 

Person B: It was nothing. 

Person A: A thousand thanks, sir/ma'am.
Person B:  No, it is I who thank you.
Person A: You’re too kind.
Person B:  Truly, it was a pleasure. 
Etc., etc. 
Eats only pre-packaged, pre-cut, de-boned, and de-skinned meat.  (Or, optionally, vegetarian.)    
Eats meat that is clearly part of an animal’s body.  Can look at organ meat without puking.    
Chews on the chicken foot, orders brain tacos.

"I want it yesterday." 

"I want it tomorrow.  Or the day after."  
"I’d prefer to have it by next Wednesday, but I’d be willing to wait six or seven months.  While standing in line.  In the burning sun." 

iPhone, iPad, iPod, iHouse, iBrain, etc. 
$20 cell phone with no camera.  5-year-old digital camera (larger than a pack of cards).

Donkey cart. 

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