Those of you who've talked
June 5, 2001
Those of you who've talked to me recently know that, for the past few weeks, my uncle has been visiting the U.S. for the first time in his life. He, like most of my extended family, still lives in India and has only seen my family in our visits there.
Naturally, he's had a terrific education in American culture while living with my parents. Even the most mundane of the daily rituals that his sister and his brother-in-law go through must seem bizarre, and he's been wonderfully and characteristically entertaining and amusing while sharing them with me.
Certainly, there were profound insights that he's offered, particularly in his perspectives on the town my sister and I grew up in and on the cities we choose to live in now. (Washington, D.C. and New York, respectively.) And I've been in constant tour guide-mode, narrating everything we do with context and personal experience, trying to offer some background on the lives my family have lived. I'll be sure to regale you all with his wit and wisdom in the future.
But perhaps the best anecdote so far to illustrate his wry take on American life was when we took him to the drive through at the KFC. After ordering and picking up our meal, he started munching on some batter-coated poultry product. Then he slowly looked around as we drove off and said, "So, if I understand correctly, you talk to the mailbox and they give you chicken?"
I guess it runs in the family.