The longer I live outside the United States, the funner it is to go back. And the more I keep using the word "funner," the more better my life is.
Why is it funner to return to the U.S. if I've been away for a long time? It's funner because I'm still an American, so I'm going home; but I'm also juuuuust enough of an outsider that I can see the homeland's quirks in a way that I couldn't were I to live there day in and day out. And that is a lot of fun. Weeeeeeeeeeeee.
What struck me in particular on this visit is how much Americans love rules. For instance, we obediently observe the rule, "Thou shalt stand in line, and thou shalt not cut. Remembereth the guy who steadied the Ark? Don't cut." But if you cut, most Americans won't say anything, we just stare knives into your spleen, because saying something would be breaking the rule that says: "Thou shalt not talk to anyone thou knowest not personally, except if they operateth a cash register, and even then, sayeth only that which is necessary to complete thy purchase. Be-eth not all up in his biz."
Case in point: I took two flights to return home to El Salvador. The first flight was domestic -- one U.S. city to another. Most, if not all, passengers were acculturated Americans. The call went out for Zone 1 to board, and passengers with "Zone 1" printed on their boarding passes obediently lined up single file; everybody else gave them wide berth so as to not to violate the rule: "Thou shalt give each person proper personal space; preferably, one or more time zones shall separate thee from thy neighbor -- don't getteth Me wrong, thou shalt love thy neighbor, just, thou knowest, tryeth to standeth not in the same time zone as he." And so on with each boarding zone.
Conversely, my second flight was from an American city directly to El Salvador. Ninety percent of passengers were Salvadoran. As soon as somebody said the word "board" into the speaker phone, we all just mobbed the gate, like the gate was a pupusa and we hadn't had any pupusas yet today. The poor fools who queued up had Salvadoran grandmas in wheelchairs roll over their hapless toes as the grandmas beelined for the gate. Salvadorans appear, in general, to just not be quite as into the queuing rule as we Americans are.
Weeeeeeee, oh man, reading that blog post was fun. But I have just, as of this moment, decided I no longer feel like typing. I hereby dub this blog post Part One, and I will write more later, when I feel like it, and I will dub it Part Two, or perhaps I will dub it Clarence. It's tough to tell how I'll feel later on. Sorry I didn't actually work Paula Abdul into the post. What can I say. You got caught in a hit and run. I am a cold-hearted snake.