04 November 2010
I've been suffering from cultural fatigue. This is a concept that my Central Europe-dwelling son has described to us in the past when he's really missing the U.S., and really tired from working on his second language. It's when he misses the everyday-ness of home with its familiar foods and television and sports, and maybe even his mom and dad.
My cultural fatigue has a different twist... I'm tired of my own cultural--politics and campaigning, crude language and subject matter intending to be humorous; strip malls populated with nail shops, dry cleaners, sub shops, cheap hair salons, cellphone distributors, and more useless retailers.
And, the wasteland of cable t.v. continues to dishearten. Why do we need so many stations when they repeat themselves endlessly and multiple channels carry the same shows? What an opportunity television has been and should continue to be carrying cultural signals that brighten our lives and teach us and entertain us, without stooping to low and lower levels. Is this how Americans want to represented to other cultures and to future generations?
I am appreciative of the beauty that surrounds my home--the autumn landscape and muted colors. I love the brisk temperatures that begin and end each day, and the amber sunlight and grey cloudiness that signal the shortening days. And, I read a lot and make opportunities to talk with others and to share the highs and lows in our lives, and ideas and experiences.
I'm looking forward to taking a break from my culture. I'm going to visit some different cultures during the next weeks. I won't always be able to communicate in the prevailing language, but I can and will observe and learn, and smile when appropriate. I'll make an effort to learn and employ the proper phrases for please, thank you, good day, pardon me, etc.
I'm looking forward to being a bit off-balance; sharpened and alert. I'm hoping for experiences of beauty, wonder, and love. I'm expecting to be refreshed and awakened. I'm investing all my senses in making this happen.