Note to America: Please Don’t Take These Things for Granted
**A clarification on my title for today: this is specifically addressed to the U.S. and A (Borat reference), and even more specifically, to Southern California. In any case, this post is applicable to anybody.**
By the time you read this, I am on a plane back to Mexico City with my family. Our next trip back to the States will be early this fall and I will be a father of 2 at that point. In any case, I realize that there are many things we take for granted when we deem them normal. Most things that we enjoy are not normal. Unless you live in another country for an extended period of time, you will never know this so I thought I’d help some of you out and ask you to take time today to not take these things for granted:
- Speaking in your mother tongue: whether it’s English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Hindi, chances are that you are able to speak your language on a regular basis and get around. This is due to the plethora of ethnic enclaves that exist, especially in Southern California. It felt good to be back and not have to work out every single word in my mind before I speak. My Spanish sucks so it was nice to just let my tongue hang out and marinade in English for a little bit. And that was a weird sentence but I’m gonna keep it.
- In-N-Out: This is a no-brainer. You can talk about 5 Guys and other burger joints all you want but In-N-Out takes the cake. Don’t be a fool. Every time you take a bite out of this patty from heaven, thank the Lord that you can have this any time you want, take a sip of that strawberry shake and pour one for the homies.
- The Staring is Rude cultural rule: This is something that almost none of you think about but it is one of the things I appreciate so incredibly much now in California. Remember when you were a kid, your mom would constantly knock you upside the head and say “hey! it’s not nice to stare! stop it!” That’s good training and makes for a much more pleasant walk around town when you’re older and much more self-conscious as it is. We get stared at every where we go in Mexico City, mostly because we stick out like sore yellow thumbs but also because it’s not considered rude to stare. Appreciate this, people. Please!
- Diversity:Unless you have a copy of Mein Kampf lying around in your house or your wardrobe of choice includes a pointy white hood, this is something that you appreciate as well about Southern California and many other parts of the country. All of our lives are richer because of the intersection of so many different cultures, languages, foods, and lifestyles. I currently live in a very un-international, major city (relatively speaking) and every so often, I get withdrawal symptoms. Which means, I start itching for a puff out of the ol’ bong of fun and fellowship.
- Law Enforcement: This one may feel debatable to some of you since you feel like the Po-Po’s are always out to get you but trust me, you would rather have that than a system that protects just about nobody. Our friends here told us a story one time of a lady who was getting beat by her husband on a regular basis. She was so fed up, she went to the police station to finally report her husband and find some assistance but the cops came to her with this reply: “come back to us when you are dead.” Translation: “you’re still alive, ain’t ya? you’re not our problem… yet.” This type of law “enforcement” is common all around the world. So the next time you get pulled over for speeding, try thanking the man for protecting the streets from dangers such as yourself.
- Nets on Basketball Hoops: My current city is very well-developed and modern but for some reason, it is rare to find courts with nets. I miss the sound of the “swish” on my sweet jump shots but for now, the sound of nothing will suffice.
I hope you found this post hopeful and on our behalf, I hope you have a little more appreciation for these things.
What are some things that YOU try not to take for granted and why?