I have a very unique vantage point from which to view the world around me. I am both foreign and native at the same time. Sure, I was born in the states, but I feel like an immigrant having lived in the Czech Republic for so long. And as anyone who has lived overseas – particularly in Prague – will tell you, it’s a little different over there.
The Czech Republic is a modern country with all the amenities one could hope for. Yet at the same time Czech culture is perpetually living in the 80’s. It’s hard to explain wi-fi and smart phones coexisting with mullets and a constant echo of “The Never Ending Story” on the radio. Prague is in this weird limbo of wanting to step into the same century as the rest of the world but in typical Czech fashion, refusing to do so. It’s weird and makes no sense at all, but it is what I am used to. America seems big, scary and greedy these days.
One of the biggest issues I am having back in the homeland is my adamant disgust for the American lifestyle. I can’t leave the house without wanting to vom at the amount of “stuff” American’s seem to need. And waste. And want. And feel they deserve just because it is avalible. I marveled at the oversized basket of chips placed on the table at a HUGE Tex-Mex restaurant, and gasped when another was brought to the table after the first was finished. “We don’t need this many chips”, I said. “We won’t finish them.” Yeah, but we CAN have them so why not? (barf) I watched a fat woman send her husband to the FREE SODA REFILL station 3x to get her more Black Cherry soda while she mindlessly ate one corn chip after another. Before her meal was even at her table she had consumed at least 500 calories.
Television is another thing I am amazed by. First off, they are everywhere. Honestly. I have seen them in every single restaurant I have been in, most drug stores and even at the movies. Needless to say they are always on. And perhaps this is why American’s have so much shit they don’t need. I watched an entire commercial breaks worth of ads, and not one was for a product anyone actually needs. Diet pills, creams, and exercise equipment promising to get rid of all the excess weight you put on eating that crap food you don’t need, followed by an ad for pizza hut stuffed pizza rollers. Dusting cloths that promise to pick up more dust than whatever you are using to pick up dust currently. Garbage bags that smell better than your current garbage bags. Laundry detergent that smells like what a happy family looks like. What?
And it’s worse for women. During the daytime shows already geared to the bored women of America you see ad after ad for shampoos, eye creams, make-up, hair removal systems, odor cover up or reduction soaps, and lots and lots of snack foods with reduced calories “just for you”. It’s absurd. How do women in this country deal with it? Or I guess a better question is, why? Women of America I implore you – turn off your televisions! Throw them out! You don’t need it. You’ll feel better about yourself without constantly being told that you are hairy, smelly, ugly, pale and fat.
I won’t claim to understand the American need to acquire more stuff just because we can. When I have brought this up in conversation I am met with glares and eye rolling. I see garages full of shit that has obviously been unused for years, if it was ever used at all. I see homes with more than one television (and computer), and most have TV’s that are bigger than me. I have seen cars with drink holders big enough for a big gulp. I have seen children sitting in front of adult sized portions of fast food.
The point is dear readers, that I don’t get it. Are we trying to show off? Have we become such mindless consumers that we honestly, truly believe we need that fucking Snuggie? Are you so stupid that you need a special blender to make a margarita? C’mon. I don’t buy it.
And neither should you.