Thursday, July 21, 2011

Culture plasticity

We're back from the USA now. Two weeks were spent working on our house in Washington to get it ready to put on the market and then two weeks visiting family in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. There were a couple of things about my behavior that caught my attention.

The first was driving. It took me a while to switch to U.S. mode. For the first few days I found myself wanting to stop every time a car approached from a side street on the right. "Do I need to stop?" I asked myself. Weird. And turning right on red? Seemed unsafe. It was tricky getting used to speeding again as well. You need to pay a lot more attention driving in the United States, it requires a certain degree of agressiveness. It took me about a week to get it back, then zoom zoom zoom!

The other thing I noticed was privacy and cameras. It bugged me to see surveillance cameras in public places, even in elevators. What's up with that? Damn voyeurs. We were in a blues club in Chicago and people were taking photos of the band without asking their permission. That bothered me too.

It's funny how living in another culture for a time can change your attitudes. I guess we really are fairly plastic, even old dogs like me.

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