I like to prepare before doing anything. It all stems back to the old days when I used to go to KFC. KFC was here before McDonalds and before Starbucks, and it used to be a treat to go there. It was always mobbed every time I went there and back in those days nobody would ever line up. It was a free for all; whoever got to the front of the line first got their order, so you had to be fast. One misstep or bit of hesitation with your order and someone else would jump in front of you. This is a stressful situation for someone just learning the language as I was, so I used to prepare. I would mutter the same phrase in my head a hundred times. Two non-spicy hamburgers. Two non-spicy hamburgers. Two non-spicy hamburgers. Again and again so when the cashier finally asked me what I wanted there would be no room for anybody to cut in. It got to the point where I started to live my life like that. To this day, before getting into a taxi, I always prepare what I’m going to say. Then I started to prepare what I was going to see, or how I would react to what I was going to experience. I’m going back to the U.S. next month, and I’m already trying to prepare myself for what I’m going to see. I can clearly remember one of the first times I went back home, and how shocked I was by everything. Look at all of these huge tits. Look at all of these little kids with blonde hair. Look at all of these old cars. Look at all of these cute houses. Look at all of these little green dollar bills. Listen to all of these people speaking English and Spanish. I was shocked because I hadn’t prepared myself for what I was going to experience.
After all, America is my home, not some mobbed KFC where no one speaks English, though we have plenty of those as well. Why should I prepare myself to go to the place where I was born? Because it is shocking that’s why, and now I know better, so now I’m preparing myself for all of the things that I might see and hear when I go back. I’m getting ready to have sensory overload when I go into a shopping center. I’m getting ready to have an English-speaking waitress. I’m getting ready to being able to read the whole menu, and not just asking the wait staff for recommendations. I’m preparing myself to not know the directions, but being able to pull into a gas station and being able to ask how to get there. Two non-spicy hamburgers. Two non-spicy hamburgers. Two non-spicy hamburgers.
By Tim Hoerle