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.

No comments: