It's always amusing to watch my mother interact with English speakers. She'll always pepper the conversation with bits of Arabic and assume that they'll understand. Or SHOULD understand. At times she'll just even switch to Arabic. The other day she made "A" sit and watch Egyptian soap operas all day. "A" now says things like, "Khalas! I won't have this conversation with you!" and "Bas I don't know if I can make it that weekend" when speaking with her daughter on the phone.
"A" was sitting in the living room when I asked my father to help me buy a car. She offered me some good bargaining advice and then said, "Whatever you do, do not take the subway." I told her there's no way I could take the subway to work. It would take me around two hours to get myself to work via the subway. By car, I'm at work in twenty minutes. This job is not subway friendly.
"No, I don't mean about the time it would take you to commute. Didn't you hear what happened in the subway?" "A" asked.
"Yeah, you told me. Wasn't there a stabbing?"
"That was last week! Yesterday there were TWO stabbings in the subway!! In QUEENS!!"
My father and I stared at her and shrugged. "'A', this is New York. A subway stabbing is nothing."
"Nothing! In Kansas it would be front news for days!"
"A" was horrified at our New York hardness. How could a subway stabbing not affect us as profoundly as it affected her? How could we even consider taking the subway again?
Other issues that horrify "A":
- The prices of homes.
"$280,000 is way too much money for a junior 4! I can't pay that much! One bedrooms go for about $180,000-200,000. It won't make sense for me to pay 280."
"A" again was part of the conversation and I thought she was going to have a convulsion.
"280 THOUSAND DOLLARS!! My brother in Missouri bought a house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge living room, and a swimming pool for $250,000!"
- The rent
- The New York attitude
My mother took "A" to the flea market last week. "A" came back with a look that I've never seen before on her face, but I recognized it immediately. She had had her first encounter with the New York attitude and she had that frustrated, hard look on her face. Now, even though she comes from a saccharin town, she knows how to hold her own. So when the vendor gave her an attitude, she exploded and gave him one back. Bless her little heart though. When he started being nasty with her, her reply was "Well, you don't have to be so rude!! I can't believe how rude you are!"
Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.