Monday, November 22, 2010
One big weave
For the past few days everything has struck me as completely hilarious. It's that stranger-in-a-strange land complex that occurs when you realized how suddenly of your own country you really are. And India just shows me up as wholly American every moment I walk outside. From crossing the street: here you really should just stay your course and not stop when an oncoming vehicles appears to make a beeline in your direction, or ordering drinks ('big chai?' is the stock question for Westerners ordering at the tea stall who are used to something bigger than thimble full), I never feel so American as when I'm overseas.
This of course is a mixed blessing: often that translates as feeling a little too big, too loud, too set in a certain way, but it also makes me appreciate the differences in this big old world that much world. Eastern mind, collectively minded as it is, is oh-so-differently organized than I/me Western mind. Traffic is the prime example. It's really just one big weave. Oncoming traffic knows to cede way as necessary, albeit while never coming to a stop. I used to bike race, and the phrase, 'hold your line' often pops into my head as I'm crossing the crosswalk-free street...that is stay in your own invisible lane, but stay loose enough to swerve for the random surprise the road offers....which of course applies to life in general.