I am dealing with a new country and a new continent. I am dealing with air that feels different and trees that look different. I am dealing with non-spicy food and spicy political shows. All in all, I am dealing with change. During comparatively stressful times such as this, humor—specifically at the workplace—helps!
So when I walked into the warm little basement of the office, guided to my workspace in a bare cubicle, I was not expecting to be shown some showgirl costumes stashed away in the locker, or the saucy headgear for those really trying days. I gave an unsure laugh, not sure if that is the reaction they were looking for. I was welcomed to the fold with a couple more crass jokes and free laughter. I am relieved.
I walked around the cubicles and found funny notes all over. I found pictures of happy and hilarious moments. I am in an Americanized Bay26! This is like the mirror world or some parallel universe where everything that’s exactly the same is happening to a different set of people.
I am taken around town during lunch hours, I am given tacky books to read and make book reports of, I am shown secret haunts where things are on sale for throwaway prices. We walked into a store and tried on all the funny hats and made all the necessary noise in there that would be enough to raise some eyebrows and a lot of concern.
Oh and the other day, one of them happily slipped a—ahem—condom into my hand. I wasn’t sure what I should say about her concern about my new life. But before I was required to react she squealed, “Oh look where it is made! INDIA!” I did not know that Latex was such a huge industry back home. Then why such an explosive population?
The apartment hunt is on. And it is a big project out here. They are all looking. And how so! Calls are being made, I am taken around to see places, recommendations for me are being made, I am constantly given tips of how to negotiate with landlords. Furniture places, discount coupons, contacts, carpet places… everything is discussed.
Welcome to the USA.
One startling revelation was just how much Americans LOVE their television. Cut off the cable connection for a few hours and you will get to see berserk, panicky people tearing their hair and screaming down the street. Ok, so that was a highly colored picture that I just painted, but truth be told, these guys are glued to their televisions. They discuss shows and more shows during lunch and coffee. They discuss the dimensions of their televisions with such passion. And no one owns just one set. There has to be at least two (one for the living room and one for the bedroom). The extravagant ones have units fit in the kitchen and the basement. And the loony ones have one installed on their fridge door. Fancy having dinner and staring at your refrigerator door throughout the process. Now, that is why I used the word loony. (Also, because I want to use that word. It is a Monday.)
People at work are shocked to know that I do not own a TV yet. I am shocked that they are shocked! Suddenly, the fact that my apartment is echoing because there is no furniture in there, and the fact that I am sleeping on the floor, diminish in importance. “Egad! You don’t have a TV??!” They, being the helpful souls that they are, discussed more television with me than ever before. And then there were deals about which one of them will loan me a TV. I turned down the offer as forcefully as I could. But I had to give up. There will be a 13” and/or a 23” settling in my apartment soon.
Oh well, the apartment won’t echo all that much, I reckon.
Nov 03, ’08: Lady at work reveals that she has an enormous uterus. Funny guy covers his ears in dismay and starts singing church hymns to chastise himself after THAT piece of news. Friendly lady laughs uncontrollably and almost rams her vehicle into a truck – with a terrified me in it.
Later today, at the Diners, Funny man introduces me as his third wife, his new bride. Funny lady plays along and introduces the remaining two women as his first and second wives. Oh and what a jovial bunch we all are. She said, “He married me for my brains, her for her breasts and the third one for her exotic beauty.”
I think I choked on my soup.
I got a pair of Christmas Green hand towels from these guys. A tacky housewarming gift. I was beginning to worry if they would gift me the ugly office clown. I hate clowns. They are scary. This little clown sits and bobs its head and sings “It’s a small world after all” Eeks.
Did I tell you that they think I would make a good waitress at Hooters because they think that I am—umm—well stacked?
PS: Folks at work have been so good to me. So, today I got them incense sticks. One of the delightful scents is “Frangipani”… and Funny Guy likes to call it FrankyPanky :)