Differences

(Let’s make some massive generalizations here, shall we? Okay!)

We Americans drink alcohol, at home, in pubs, at restaurants. Women drink, too. Lots!

We get pregnant before we’re married. It’s not a huge deal.

We have abortions, one, two, three. Sometimes more.

We choose who we’re going to marry, and then, in all probability, we end up divorcing them.

Girls grind on guys when they dance.

We show cleavage.

Not just men, but women also smoke cigarettes!

When we’re sick, we take medicine, rather than a cup of chai and a handful of biscuits, as any good Indian would advise.

Women get high-paying career jobs, and have affairs behind their husbands’ backs.

Men do the same (with women) (and with men, come to think of it!).

We eat with forks, knives and spoons, not our hands.

We are uber-polite, and rather than pointing out that you have a huge booger hanging out of your nose, we ignore it, and hope it goes away.

We drive sedately.

We use horns only when necessary.

We generally don’t ask someone we’ve just met if:

a) they’re married, or…

b) what their husband’s profession is, and…

c) how much money he makes

We use toilet paper, not our hands, to clean our bums.

We are super-duper-hygienically-sterile.

We have to possess a “Food Handlers Permit” before working in a restaurant.

In such a restaurant, we store the chicken below the dairy below the dry goods. It’s law. This way, there’s no meat-juice drippings on your six-grain wheat bread, or your freshly washed lettuce!

When we want to stare, we tend to do so out of the corners of our eyes, not blatantly. We don’t usually wave our arms and point out the object of our scrutiny to the entire street, or restaurant, or train station.

Most of us don’t worship an array of colorful (sometimes human, sometimes animal, sometimes in between) gods. We like our big, bad Christian Daddy.

When us women get married, we wear white, not colorful saris, glittering toe rings, and dots of sandalwood painted on our foreheads.

Even our poor people are rich.

We could tell you our president’s name (Obama! Obama!), but probably not anyone else’s.

We have ugly accents.

We tend to be loud and abrasive.

We can afford to travel.

We have the subtle, arrogant pleasure of saying “USA” when someone asks where we’re from. Eyes get huge. A crowd appears.

We are every color under the sun; yellow, black, red, white, tanning-bed-burnt-orange. Our eyes slant and our hair kinks. We study high philosophy.

We churn out porn movies and organic food, registered weapons and lethal kids.

We drink water from the tap.

We spay and neuter our animals. We keep them on leashes. They have glossy fur, and appointments at the vet. (Muffin Trudeau?! Oh, yes, ma’am, bring her right in! Isn’t she a sweet pooch?!|)

We are worthless at eating spicy food. Zero stars, please!

We have “careers,” not a cart of peanuts we push from door to door, hoping to make a sale.

We have hot water on demand. We can take long, purifying showers. Three times a day if we feel like it.

We are pathetic at speaking other languages.

We don’t try to run dogs over when we see them in the street.

Our roads are smooth and paved (most of them).

We are “Number One In The World!” according to everyone else.

We don’t have leprosy, so it isn’t necessary for us to drag ourselves along the ground on stumps where hands used to be, our stumpy ex-feet dragging behind us in the dust.

We have Gold Cards, and Silver Cards, and Platinum cards. We have massive debt.

We don’t like to talk about sex, or death, or other messy things. We push such topics down, down, down, and ignore them entirely.

Our pharmacies don’t sell over-the-counter anti-depressants, Valiums, or Viagra. We need a prescription.

Our currency is nice and strong.

Our babies are a blessing, boys and girls. We generally don’t practice infanticide just because we’re unhappy with the newborn’s sex.

We are gluttonously rich. We are.

We’re having trouble finding happiness, always seeking, always wanting more.

We take our power and our money for granted. Yes, we do!

We are bigots and movie stars, basketball players and rappers. We are Marilyn Monroe and Brittany Spears. We love US Weekly and People Magazine. Come on. Don’t lie.

We don’t shit in the street (usually).

Cows don’t wander down our highways, blocking traffic and swishing their tails. Our cows are well-behaved, and well-contained. They are certainly not holy. McDonald’s would go out of business!

We have refrigerators. We have our own bedrooms. We don’t sleep on mats rolled out on the floor, but rather on soft beds with down comforters, and sheets we wash (in a machine) once a week.

We put classy artwork up on our walls, not cheesy kitten pictures torn from an old calendar.

We retire with bonuses and pensions, and head south for the winter. Arizona. Palm Springs. We fly (first class if we’ve really made it).

We have a black president who just won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yahoo!

We dip our toes into yoga, meditation, eastern philosophy, levitation. We pick gurus and wear guardian angel pendants around our necks. We make the sign of the cross.

We aren’t sure if we believe in past lives. Probably not. You can’t prove it, right?

We barbeque steaks and water ski on the lake.

We have nice teeth. We visit the dentist every six months.

We have weekends and holidays. We get two weeks paid vacation, insurance, a 401K.

We are living the dream, we just don’t know it.

(More writing at: sosofresh.wordpress.com)

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Comments 5 comments

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

Thank you Sarah....so very very much. I really needed that hub right now and although not American and not rich...and with lousy teeth....it reminded me how lucky I am because I was feeling like shit.


Matt Senechal 6 years ago

I love the Truth, thank you! We are not living the Dream, you are =)

Rock on,

Senechal


charanjeet kaur profile image

charanjeet kaur 6 years ago from Delhi

Sarah, this hub is one of the honest writing ever and you really have an eye to catch the finer glimpses of life. For me personally I have had the pleasure of living both in India Europe and London as well. All the time i was there we could not help but notice the difference in the two cultures and economic conditions.

The comparison just proved a point that no one is perfect. Finding a way to be happy in your imperfect world is what the journey of life is all about.


Suz 6 years ago

I think your "we are gluttonously rich" sums it up. You are very right, and I loved this piece. Keep it coming. And make your way here to share all this with me in person if you can, OK? Love you dearly & be well...


Sheila 6 years ago

Great piece! You touch on so many topics that really do define Americans, for better or worse.

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