Being back in America has been a culture shock. I mentioned in Losing Your Identity the shift one feels when one leaves their environment. An environment they rooted in.
France is a hard country to integrate into, and while I never ‘fully’ integrated, like others who married French and then had French children, I stayed away from my own kind long enough to obliterate a lot of my Americanness. Assimilate or sink.
Once you aggressively push your way on to that metro, it’s hard to get off. You learn to go with that flow, and when you’re forced out of it, it’s a huge shock to the system. Especially coming back to this new America. I blame Christian Kinnersley for forcing me from my home because he wanted to get rid of me. He pushed me to leave Paris and for that (and many other reasons) I will hate him ‘til my grave. I know you shouldn’t hate people, they say hate is like a cancer, and I usually don’t, mostly because I’m pathologically incurious and oblivious to others, but when you realize how much a person has hurt you, and just how far reaching, and how it seeps into all of the little cracks and crevices of your life… well if I had one wish it’s that his life is pure misery and hell. No one deserves the center of Dante’s 9th circle more than he does.
I am a person who does not like change. I have to either be eased into it slowly or I have to want it. This has been aggressive, involuntary change. Like I’m being compelled into something I never asked for. Even worse than change, I don’t like being forced. I’m stubborn by nature. I was forced from something I wasn’t ready for, forced into changing myself, and my life. It’s making me rebel, and it’s making me extremely unhappy.
One thing I am having trouble getting used to is customer service/people interaction. You hear all of the time “the French are so rude” (a misnomer), and sure, they can be assholes, but I’d like to posit that maybe Americans need to leave people alone from time to time? And maybe we are too coddled and spoiled?
I know it’s sacrilege to go against our ‘great customer service’, but sometimes the customer isn’t right, sometimes the customer is just an entitled asshole with unrealistic expectations. The more I work in America the clearer this becomes.
I used to want to teach the French customer service. When I first moved to France I hated the lack of it. But then it just became life and I got used to it. I learned what to expect and what not to ask for.
Since being back in America I wish I could teach Americans how to stop being such demanding, spoiled children. America is truly a country of Karens. And it has nothing to do with skin color, as I’ve encountered a number of Karens of other races. Americans have been taught for so long that “they’re always right”, that even when they’re not, they can’t admit it, and that makes them become even more rude, and outlandish in their demands. It’s a total lack of self awareness that shocks me.
You would be surprised by some of the things that come across my desk. I’m like what is making you ask for this; lack of common sense or plain old entitlement? It makes a future in America so incredibly unappealing. And every job it seems is a ‘people’ job, even my social media analyst job. I am constantly being ‘coached’ for my lack of empathy. “You’re too blunt, assume positive intent” when a Karen is demanding. I’ve actually begun to hate my job because I constantly feel like I have to deal with one rude and whiney person after the next. The number of people who ask for money is shocking. I constantly come across messages like “if you don’t give me what I want…”. It’s so childish and unreal. I guess they think they’re talking to anonymous social media accounts so they can say anything. It truly enlightens you to the ugly side of humanity.
Now mind you the company I work for is mind boggling bad with money, and they’ve probably exacerbated the issue. They’re a great company to work for, they’re socialist in nature, and give their employees a lot of great perks that are unusual for such a large, multi billion dollar American company, but this is a double edged sword. They’re like a 10 year old with a blank check. They give out free shit like they’re Oprah. If I was their accounting/finance department I’d be a raging alcoholic from trying to triage that gaping BP oil spill. They give in to the most inane demands, and basically throw money down the drain. I guess it’s great for them that there really is no alternative because they can’t fail. When they almost did, the public outpouring was overwhelmingly strong. But then these same people who cried at their possible downfall, want to be given everything for free? The stupidity hurts my brain.
This feeling isn’t exactly a new phenomena. I’ve spoken to people who say they’ve also felt so changed that they can no longer fit into their environment and they long to be somewhere else. It’s a side effect of assimilation I suppose. Clearly not always a good side effect. I guess that’s why people become travelers.
I wish I could meet more ex-pats or emigrants. The people I meet have never lived outside of America, and I find they don’t understand me, which makes me retreat and stop talking to them, which then makes me even lonelier. I’m surrounded by people who do not and cannot get me. Covid also makes it impossible to meet new like minded people.
But it might also be permanent damage from my relationship with Christian too. It was already hard for me to connect to people on a deeper level. I’m very cautious and I rarely get that close or have anyone hold my interest. It didn’t help that the one person I ever connected to lied to me and abandoned me. That doesn’t exactly make you open to people ya know? I’m sure a psychologist would say “you’re closed off because you have abandonment issues”. Fun.
I probably am too skewed in mentality now. Maybe it’s in part where I currently live. But I don’t want to change and I’m tired of feeling like something is wrong with me. In France I was normal, in America I’m rude. It’s making me hate America, and that makes me feel even lonelier. It doesn’t help that Americans feel so bloody entitled. How do you not see the monsters you’ve created?
But let’s be real, that will never change. Just like France will never be good at customer service, Karens gonna Karen. All you can do is get out of that which doesn’t work for you. And it’s becoming clear that America is not working for me.