Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Consequence of Casualness

There are certain things that I truly love about the United States. For example, we have awesome supermarkets. They sell delicious freshly made Indian cuisine that exudes this lovely aroma which carries shoppers to the far corners of the hindu kush. They even have a sommelier. And, you would never ever find green meat on their shelves (I found green meat on a shelf in a German grocer’s). I suppose I could go on and on about America’s fine grocery stores such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods, and even Fred Meyer. But, this week I have come to appreciate the casualness of this country. Perhaps, it is just the west coast, but we just kick back, wear jeans, use slang, and relax.

Last week my professor was complaining about age. Apparently, when people get old, they get respect. Sometimes his students call him “Professor Schmitz.” (Not his real name). His response to that was “come on, it’s Jo, I mean what is this? Get real.” Enough with these titles and last names, isn’t that a bit pretentious? Even professors are on a first-name basis. I can’t think of a single person who I would call by their last name. But I do find it odd when my elderly professors start using slang such as “sick,” “sweet,” or “righteous.”

And dressing up? What for? Who would go to the opera in anything aside from jeans and pumas?

Although we don’t embrace formalities, we don’t embrace utter casualness. For example, it would be inappropriate to call my professors “Dude” or “Man,” “Hey man, I don’t understand the lecture last week on the philosophy of modern drumming.” Yeah, that wouldn’t “fly.”

It’s great that we Northwesters don’t buy into that Gucci and Prada business. Rather, we head on down to the second-hand store, only to be taken to the cleaners for a pair of used jeans. But then we can say to our friends, “Yeah, I got these as a thrift store.” When in reality, it was a “new to you” store, with overpriced merchandise. We pay that price of fashion, and to enact our trendiness, and just to prove we’re casual. And, that is all I have to say on the issue of casualness.

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