I guess I’ve got to write something. So these are some things that have been knocking around in my head the past couple of weeks or so.
America is not the land of opportunity that is likes to think it is. America is the land of continually paying and never owning or controlling. Here are my examples: cars, cell phones and houses (luckily I’m excluded from the latter, but if I wasn’t I’d be certainly way deep in debt). I turn on the TV and see ads for cars that are “only” double my yearly salary, and I wonder who the hell can actually afford to buy a car outright any more. With my cell phone, I just pay, and don’t actually own the phone, unlike almost every other country in the world. If I had a credit card, oh man, I wouldn’t like to think of the problems that I’d have. So although at every sporting event in this nation we call ourselves “the land of the free,” I feel incredibly tied to everything and have never felt constrained in my life.
When I was out of the country, I missed things like functioning electric grids and warm showers, but now I realize that me missing those things was completely superficial. I can’t say that I actually like using a shower curtain or driving a car, and to this day I still don’t drink from the bathroom sink because I’m used to not drinking from the bathroom sink.
I’ve also come to the realization that I came home with trumped-up expectations of my family. Maybe it was all my Vietnamese friends and students who always said, “You must miss your family”; maybe all of that got into my head. I came home, and my family was like, “Oh, you’re back. Now be normal.” Well, for many reasons, I’m still not normal nor do I really want to be. I’ve got a thousand and one stories to tell, and very few people willing to listen to them or care about them. I heard a quote on the radio the other day, and it was something like: “After you’ve done something significant, everything else is just making enough to eat.” My thoughts exactly. I’m just making enough to eat and get by at the moment. I can’t say that writing articles concerning local affairs is very significant in the big scheme of things. But I’ll press on and float by.