Monday, October 4, 2010

Out of Sight, Out of Touch

Who are these people?!

One of my greatest fears of living abroad for too long is getting out of touch with American culture. Namely, American pop-culture. It sounds really stupid and superficial, but it's how I communicate and connect with most of the people in my life. I work for an American company and conduct business in English. Communication isn't a problem and yet, it is. When you take away water cooler talk, simple conversation becomes a minefield of awkwardness and misunderstanding. There's no glue. At my old office, my co-workers and I couldn't be more different. But how could a Long Island mother of 3 and I carry on and fully enjoy a 15-minute conversation? Lost. 24. The Real Housewives of Orange County. How much I hate/you love the Yankees. They may have been purely superficial relationships and conversations, but at least it was a connection made. It makes working together easier somehow. It's the social lubricant of the American office. 

I'm getting dangerously close to becoming a complete foreigner to American culture. This sucks mostly because I used to be like...for reals in the know. I knew things, I probably shouldn't have, but it made me feel like I was a part of society. Celebrity gossip. Political gossip. What music was acceptable to show people on your iPod and which ones you should hide. I just looked at the iTunes top selling singles and albums and couldn't identify anyone other than Katy Perry and even then, I have no idea if I'm supposed to like her or hate her. Glee? Never seen it. Why is the #9 most downloaded song called (and spelled) Gonerrhea? There's a movie about Facebook? Is Twilight still "a thing"? Enrique Inglesias is now making music again? Have I seriously been away so long that pop music has lapped me? I've gone from working at The Worldwide Leader in Sports to not being able to tell you who won the last World Series/Super Bowl/Final Four. (I'm so un-American in my sports participation at the moment, that I could tell you who won the World Cup, Tour de France and any Grand Slam this year.) 

Sure, the internet helps a ton. I'm religious with my Google Reader reading and my friends keep me somewhat informed on what's "hip" and "groovy". But still, for every Marcel the Shell I do catch, 20 others come and go and I'm left standing alone with my sometimes functioning Apple TV catching up on last season's hottest show hoping not to read any spoilers online. And then there's the struggle between trying to stay relevant and trying to go out and live my life in this weird, wacky and pretty awesome in its own right country. Poor me, right? 

I'm about to go back to the States for 10 days and fear that I'm going to be overloaded with culture shock. Seeing as how much of my trip will be spend inside a metal tube high above the ground (an airplane), I'll be stocking up on the latest American Culture 101: Why We're a Dying Civilization required reading - Us Magazine and People. 

PS - Just kidding! America is awesome! (NO REALLY, don't block me at immigration. I've got some weddings and family hug parties to get to!)  


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  2. I think being abroad is a huge part of it, but some of it is just getting older too. Out of all the pics you posted I only know who Meg Whitman is (and sort of Drake, but only because Danielle watched Degrassi). I've never seen Glee, I've never seen Real Housewives and wtf is Gonerrhea (the song)?! The only reason I knew Enrique Iglesias made music again =

    Jules: "I've had that song 'baby i like it' in my head for forever. Who is it, Katy Perry?"

    Colin: "Um, it's Enrique Iglesias"

  3. Well, that's a relief.

    I agree, I do think it's something that just comes with age. I still don't fully understand Can I Haz Chzbrger or whatever. I started to feel that even when I lived in NY but when I read some of the old blogs I used to read religiously, I'm usually totally baffled by what's there.

  4. Don't feel bad. The only one I know is Ben Franklin at the top left and I wish he would stop trying to run my state.