Thursday, April 3, 2014

American Superiority?

Every day I take French class from 10am-12pm in a room full of people from across the globe... Israel, Sweden, China, Italy, etc... It's always an amazing thing for me to realize that kindred spirits exist anywhere you go, all anxiously in search of travel, culture, new experiences, and adventure. No matter how much we want to broaden our horizons and step outside of the box, however, there are similarities of nation and culture that are simply magnets of comfort. I sit next to the two other American people in my class, and though they are quite lovely and are becoming delightful friends, the other day I discovered that it might be less a profound affinity for each other (though by no means do I wish to diminish our mutual admiration) but more a need to assert our domination. Most other students in the class seem to switch to different seats, depending on the day. Our little trio, however, feels an intense need to sit in the exact same chairs in the exact same positions every day. Perhaps this is comfort, perhaps this is custom, perhaps this is us all being downright catty... But I have to wonder if it's something that we learned and developed as the product of a powerful nation. 

I grew up accustomed to finding a chair in a classroom and sitting in it for the whole semester. When I was younger in public schools it was a requirement, easier for the teacher to remember our names and track us down for attendance. I also fully admit that I have a touch of OCD that rears its ugly head under bizarre circumstances... I have a strange attachment to certain numbers and have thankfully grown out of the habit of needing things to be "even" in quantity. To this day, however, I feel incredibly unsettled when using exclamation points outside the designated number established in my brain... You use one exclamation point, followed by three, followed by five... For example, Wow! Sweet!!! Amazifying!!!!! Yes, weird, let it go...

On the other hand, there is a very real possibility that a strong desire for supremacy, always being right, and dominating the situation that may very well be involved. No one else in the room feels completely disgruntled as if the whole day is obnoxiously destroyed if someone should take their seat, or "mix it up" as they say. Perhaps it's just a culturally established routine that we cling to, most particularly because we are away from home. But then why the petulance when routine is interrupted? Shan't we embrace the new experience of sitting next to different people and having different perspectives? Well no, I want to sit in my chair where I can see the board and am comfortably placed. I pride myself on the fact that I have developed far more flexibility than I had at a younger age (haha yes, I'm still ridiculous and want things my way, but I have improved!), but growing up in a country full of the "American Dream", being taught that we can do whatever we want or achieve any goal or be the dominating factor in any scenario may have had its effects. For the most part, these notions have allowed me to do positive things like put on shows in NYC or move to foreign countries, but it's very probable that while wandering the globe, I still have some aspects of American mentality to shed.

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