Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Reverse Culture Shock

Since moving to India in September of 2005, I have returned to the US twice for three-week stretches. Each time I have to cope with reverse culture shock.

I rented a car at Newark airport in freezing cold February. I had to rent a carseat too, so I asked if they could intall it for me - i didn’t want to because i was barely familiar with my old one. And that way I wouldn’t have to cart my infant out into that icy chill while the carseat gets fixed into place. NOPE. LIA-FREAKIN-BILITY. Because the company cannot afford help with brains and the american consumer cannot pass up an opportunity to SUE... as i struggled in the dark and bitter cold to connect black latches with black hooks, i longed for india.

I stayed at very nice hotels and dined at restaurants of all kinds and discovered that customer service in the really IS crappy. Americans have too much of a sense of self-importance and lack creativity when it comes to following policy or pleasing the customer.

But I loved being back where scalding hot water is always on tap, and washing machines take bushels of laundry at a time and wash them up in under 30 minutes. Nothing can beat American household help - the dishwasher, the garbage disposal, the food processor, the washer and dryer...as noisy as they may be, they are much quieter than my Indian household help and i get consistent results every time.

These new maids yap yap yap all day long, and try to get me involved, and they don’t speak my language and i stumble in theirs - i think that’s their entertainment. I mean, i did once tell them to eat the baby, instead of feed the baby. I think they want to hear some new material...

And the grocery store was heaven.... so many items ...scented trash bags, washing detergent that comes in the shape of a ball, all kinds of character shaped organic snack crackers for the kiddo, whipped cream in the aerosol cans ...wooohooo. i could spend hours in a grocery store after seeing the same limited supply of things here...

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