Found this thing dating from August last year while cleaning my mailbox…. I was off blogs at the time else this would have been up 🙂
Driving in America is an achievement for me. My auspicious beginning getting pulled over for driving too slowly on the freeway is behind me. I can’t seem to stay below speed limits now. Admittedly its the ridiculous 45mph speed limit of Chicago suburbia – the only place fortunate enough to see a display of my virtuosity behind the wheel, but still quite an achievement. I was just congratulating myself on it this morning, when my car beeped at me. (I like that about American cars, they honk at you and tell you when their lights are on, or your seatbelt is not). This one was telling me in bright red display “low fuel”. The previous week someone had been kind enough to allow me to observe and question them about the process at self – filling gas stations. So I felt relatively confident about my abilities there. Headed smoothly into the spot next to the pump, hit the release button on my fuel tank, got out with wallet and smoothly put card in and out , picked up nozzle and turned around to gas up. I'd pulled up with good Indian instinct on the wrong side. I paused, but the pump beeped at me, with huge display of “Fueling. Thank you for your payment” . Every additional beep terrified me as I tried to pull the pipe out to the other side and fill it in. It was too short. Pump is still beeping at me, a car is pulling up on the other side of the pump and I’m feeling more idiotic by the second. I took a deep breath, reminded myself that this is a country that caters to the lowest common denominator and tried to ignore the voice in my head that kept telling me i was lower than the lowest. Two deep breaths later, voila! There was the green 'cancel' button staring me in the face. Pressed it ,achieved blessed silence from the pump, turned my car around and finished what should have taken me 3 minutes in about 15..
I’ve taken that sort of thing for granted now – the simple things will defeat me. I always look on the wrong side when crossing, can't figure out how dishwashers or doorknobs work and look like a moronic hick taking an eye test when i have to choose anything from the shelf at the supermarket. I have no clue which items are vegetarian. (I'm the ass that thought pepperoni might be veggie) and have to read the ingredients that are printed for 10 minutes before I can choose. But I will not figure out the closest Indian store and finish my shopping in 10 minutes. (now that i think of it, even i don't understand why. I would so dearly love to eat Maggi). Oh! that is one thing. They have Top Ramen here. The first time i spied it on the shelf my heart actually leapt with joy. Headed straight for hte familiar red package. Then KLPD happened. It was beef. Not one of the colors, not the blue, the pink, the green or the maroon were vegetarian. AND Asian = Chinese. Which means you can't find a single familiar looking thing in the Asian section of a supermarket.
I'm yet to hit downtown Chicago on anything other than work. However i think the skyline is truly evil looking. Approaching a tall building based downtown in American cities always gives me a feeling of approaching hell. I don't mean that in a “sinner-quaking-at-the-knees-there-lies-my-fate” fashion. Its more a sense of awe. But it’s not pleasant. You want to stay in a range where you want to see them together, but never get close enough that any one of them can swallow you up.