Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Australia v America

Not a football match, but the differences in communication and culture, are to be discussed, yet again. Yesterday I went to Lush to pick up some shower gel which I've been coveting since Christmas but being thrify about. I couldn't get to the shelf that Sonic Death Monkey was on as there was a woman sniffing and obviously trying to decide which gel to buy. When she took a sniff of Flying Fox I said to her "That one is really nice." and her response was "It smells awful. I thought something in it had gone off." Truly Australian, the honesty there. Had the same conversation taken place in the US, which is unlikely to start with because we don't talk to each other if it's not out of necessity, she would say smiled and said "Yes, it is." then gone home and told her friends and family about the crazy lady who talked to her at the store. You see, us yanks are suspicious creatures, who are keen to show off, but don't always look for the true connection.

On that note, I got a copy of Yoga Journal in the care package from my mother that came yesterday. As I was reading it on the bus this morning, it struck me how 'American' the magazine felt, and how I really don't enjoy it the way I used to. Half of the magazine is adds for things that will allow you to practice yoga whilst looking better, and most of the articles which aren't about yoga positions revolve around things like finding oneself or how to be a better person.

What's wrong with us yanks that we don't know who we are without reading a magazine, and that we need to show a good front, but are wary of talking to and/or getting to know our neighbours?

15 comments:

elsja said...

Such an interesting perspective. I find it totally the opposite. I used to find WAY more people would chat in shops at home than they do here. People would say hello and good afternoon in CA, but here people look away and avoid eye contact. However, I must admit- it is true that people probably would just say "yeah it's nice" back in the US. There is more brutal honesty here than I'm used to :)

Suzer said...

I'm a lot of why you and I find it different is because 1) I am from Chicago and you're from California and 2) you're in Sydney and I'm in Adelaide! Perhaps you should come out here for a visit;) By the way, where in Cali are you from again?

Laine Moore said...

Just doing my quick read of my morning blogs before work (hey I don't like the TV here and we don't get newspaper this is the next best thing!) so here's my quick comment:

Sonic Death Monkey smells like crap!! I thought I would love it, being chocolate based and all but it smells kinda stale once it's used as a body wash (I think it's the coffee smell that does this.) Flying fox is ok.... but a bit too much jasmine for me :) Did you get the SDM? Sorry this isn't completely related to the real content of your post.

Suzer said...

I guess Lush is super subjective, because I love Sonic Death Monkey and did in fact buy a bottle.

Congrats on becoming Australian Danielle...you are so honest lol, or is it the Texan within?

Muddiah said...

I think you're getting a mite too critical of the U.S. from your side of the world. I don't see Americans being as superficial and isolated as you make us out to be. I have no problem talking with folks I bump into and will readily give my unvarnished opinion if asked. And...sometimes even if I'm not asked :). Whenever I need to ask someone a question when downtown or anywhere else, I find folks eager to help out if they can. I can't remember how many times I've stopped, put my window down in the car, and asked a perfect stranger for directions.

Humm...in your email you said that this copy of the Yoga magazine was a "really good issue" which you enjoyed reading on the way to work.

Suzer said...

Quick answer (tired and working): It was a good issue all in all, but I did notice some things I wouldn't have before.

Laine Moore said...

maybe you got a better batch than I did, I will sniff it again next time I'm at Lush. I think I might right a blog post that is kinda-sorta a response to yours :)

Laine Moore said...

write! :)

Suzer said...

I know that totally cracked me up because I know you're smarter than that. It's amazing what we do that isn't right when we haven't been writing for a while;) I often confuse my there/their and you're/your these days, which is just plain shocking!

Muddiah said...

Just thought perhaps you were being a "Yank" in your quick response to me in the email.:)

Suzer said...

LOL! Good call but no;)

A Free Man said...

Advertising is ubiquitous, but I think of it as something that we perfected. I think that our culture has been so influenced by advertising - particularly since the advent of TV - that we don't know who we are without it anymore.

SouthOzBloke said...

That's ok Suzer, a pommy mate of mine at Uni always used to ask his American exchange student friends if they fancied a fag.
I have to admit, the look on their faces before they realised he was talking about cigarettes was usually pretty good.

Heather said...

Hey Suzer. Had a good chuckle ie. the american's don't talk to each other bit. I feel exactly the same way and i'm still getting used to having to strike up a conversation with every cashier and person I walk past as if we are old friends. Unfortunately i can't stay comfortably in my isolated american shell cause the hubby considers it to be extremely rude and is horrified at my behavior. i miss being able to go to the store, grab what i need and slide out without making eye contact with anyone. that being said it is getting easier the longer i'm here to have a bit of a chin wag with whoever. i enjoy the blog.. keep it up.

Glorified Hazing Process said...

I just wanted to say thanks for blogging. Lately I've been looking at Australia as a spot to land since the economy here is coming off the rails.