The Reluctant American

So I’m back in the land of the free. I’ve had my hair done, my nails did, and my fair share of fried chicken and fresh-made biscuits. Considering how much I lamented the loss of my first-world luxuries you’d think I’d have let out a huge sigh of relief to be back in the states. Yeah, that feeling wore off after the first three days.

Part of it is that I miss all the amazing people I met in Mexico, but mostly it’s the travel itch coming back strong. I have determined I was destined to be a nomad.

Now, I love my beautiful new apartment (which will receive its very own blog post quite soon,) and I can’t argue that the Carolina blue sky and the rich greenery is probably in my top twenty on most beautiful sights on the planet, BUT I yearn for all the people, foods, and experiences I know are waiting for me in the places I’ve yet to discover.

Perhaps the problem is that every time I come back to the states I am forced to interact with airport personnel, and those people are cranky. After returning from Ireland I came through Jersey. My mother and I couldn’t find the shuttle to Terminal B and were on the verge of missing our connection back to Charlotte. We asked a lady working security where we might find the shuttle and she stared blankly ahead, not even at us, and proceeded to point at the sign above our heads with an arrow pointing in the direction we had just come. There are two issues here — a) acknowledge I’m asking you a question and look at me when I’m talking to you and b) use your words, or is being able to communicate coherently not part of your job description? Mind you I had just left a country where the cab drivers serenade you. The contrast was depressing.

In my latest return trip to the states via Houston, the experience was exponentially worse and removed any last trace of pride I had in calling myself an American.

I had an oversized suitcase which the personnel at the airport in Mexico had kindly plastered with about 50 “fragile” stickers after one of my tequila bottles had shattered. As I was re-checking my bags after making it through customs, I happened to notice that the attendant loading the bags was carelessly picking them up and throwing them about ten feet onto the conveyer belt. Concerned for the safety of the additional bottle of tequila in my suitcase, I politely mentioned to the attendant that my bag was fragile, and could we be a little careful putting it on the belt. He stopped, turned, looked at me, and said “you are welcome to put it on there your own self.”

So all 5’2″ and 118 pounds of me spent about 3 minutes struggling with my 50 pound suitcase to lift it onto this 3-foot-high conveyer belt. After watching me flounder for awhile, the man said gently that I was going to kill myself and he would take care of it. Noting the sudden change in his tone I thought perhaps he had a change of heart and perhaps a shred of decency, so I happily let him assist. Well, I was wrong. He did not have a single iota of decency. In fact, he was a lazy and ignorant son of a bitch. He proceeded to pick up my bag and forcefully heave it towards the platform. It fell a good foot before slamming onto the belt face down. Of course I lost my cool, threw a few expletives his way and stormed off. Damn my temper, otherwise I would have politely asked his name and filed a formal complaint. Maybe that pissant would have been out of a job if I could have channeled my inner Stepford wife for 30 seconds.

You know what made the whole situation so terrible? The fact that this poor excuse for a human being was probably paid double or triple what the staff at the airport in Mexico was paid, or the cab driver who talked to me the whole way to the airport to keep me from bursting into tears every 5 minutes. And that is why I am a reluctant American. It is embarassing to share a country with individuals who feel entitled without the least bit of inclination to actually contribute to society, or any regard for those who have the misfortune to cross their path.

Giant Mexican rodent says it best when he says “La gente esta muy loco, WTF?!”



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