Sometimes it feels as if the worlds that I live in are connected and coherent. Then things happen and it proves to me how far each of my worlds are. Last week it was proved once again.
Every culture has their own tollerences. What is acceptable and what is not. I don’t doubt that often missunderstandings arise out of the smallest of differences. For instance one can ask for a rubber in England and be handed an erraser, yet in America a flushed face stammering “You would like what?” would be all that one recieved. ….. The list goes on… Just as it did last week.
Last week a friend of mine and I were crashing our African Brothers house for the evening. A communal meal of hot chille con carne was in the cards (it is always a wiser disicion for me to make hot and spicy food that I like verses the peanutbutter/ hot pepper combination that the sudenese men find so attractive while i choke down 3 ant-acids and pray that there is enough milk and bread in the house to allow me to put a small amount in my belly.) and well… The evening at first was going grand. We sat 3 Sudenes, 3 Americans and 1 lone Ethiopian around the small endtable that held the splendor of our evening meal. Jokes were exchanged as we all commented upon the differences between Africa and the United States.
Unfortunatly a joke was pushed a bit too far. One friend told my American sister to move so I could sit next to the boy they were teasing me about marrying. He told her to come sit with him. She, due to her past as a dancer, took it the wrong way. Within minnutes, my lone African brother was covered in tang. I couldn’t believe it and neither could anyone else. Now you would have believed it would end with an apology from her for squirting him with tang and for him to say sorry that the joke was misconstrued. But no…. lets just say that 2 of my other African brothers didnt know when to drop it. In less than an hour a screaming match ensued causing us (not just my american sister) to be evicted from the apartment by a man that would not listen to reason. In fact his behaviour was even worse than that of hers when she squirted the tang. He would not accept an apology from her, and made sure she knew that he was the “man”. Even my brother that we came to see at the apartment was not allowed to accept her apology by these 2 men.
Now in the end My american sister, my ehtiopian brother, and one of my brothers from sudan are all on good terms. The other 2 i’m sad to say are still not speaking to us. Nor do i think we will be speaking to them while they hold to the attitude that they are above all others. Grrr. sometimes it is fustrating. As the world shrinks you would think these clashes of culture would be less intense and that people would be more tollerant as well as patient with misunderstandings. Unfortunatly, as proven last week.. sometime this is just not the case.