Jun 7, 2009, 8:15 PM
Post #1 of 39
Wow! I am SO happy to be back. I was stunned at the perceptions of people in the US about the US when I went back to close a law office whose solo practitioner had died. I used to work for him and the secretary is a friend ... so back I went. On at least three separate occasions (there may have been more) people from different political and social arenas commented to me that I was lucky to have left when I did and that the country had changed in the last 9 years and not in a good way. They were not happy campers.
Just back from a month in upstate New York
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I stayed at a Marriott Residence Inn for the month so I didn't have to eat at restaurants all the time and had my own kitchen. I went food shopping. Holy Cow!!!! I bought four bags of ordinary stuff: peanut butter, jelly, chicken breasts, salmon, veggies, one steamer basket, a pack of 8 oz. cans of Diet Coke, bread, yogurt, cheese and coffee as well as three spices: black pepper, crushed red chili peppers, and dried basil, a very small bottle of olive oil and an equally small bottle of balsamic vinegar, cereal, black beans and brown rice. This is not exotic stuff. $170 US. Honest. I had four bags of groceries. $170. Huh???
Then there was the weather thing: 30 degrees and ice on the windshield on a Tuesday, 89 degrees and humid the next afternoon. This pattern continued. No further comment. I managed to stay healthy. I have no idea why I am still alive.
People seemed generally angry ... and rude. Now, I haven't been around for 9 years, so I know it wasn't anything I had said or done. So, what's up with that?
The price of gasoline rose 60 cents a gallon in the month I was there. I have no idea why.
My daughter and son in law are contemplating selling their house: their property and school taxes approach $10,000 a year. They are not wealthy. Son in law has been unemployed for a year, daughter, luckily has a job as a high school Spanish teacher.
But worst of all: people did not gather, people did not stop and chat, no one was sitting outside on that 89 degree day taking in the local scene, not even the elderly, retired, or unemployed. There were cars in evidence, but no people, except in the malls. But they don't talk to one another. There was no "center" where you could go for a cup of coffee and find out what was going on. No hugs, no kisses on the cheek, no handshakes, nada, zip, zero.
The best day was Mother's Day: I went to my daughter's house (my family is, in large part, Ecuadorean) and a whole passel of inlaws, outlaws and other Ecuadoreans were there. A heated discussion about whether or not to sit on toilet seats in public bathrooms ensued. It was hysterical and very loud. In case anyone wonders or cares: Ecuadoreans do not sit on public toilet seats. A family member who is a cardiologist intervened and said the toilet seats were cleaner than the kitchen sink, but that he didn't sit either. There were fifteen of us discussing this simultaneously in Spanish, each of us louder than the next. This was the high point of my trip.
Oh, I am happy to be back.