Sunday, November 20, 2011

Existing in Excess

I know it might be slightly premature, what with a pending extension in the works, but I find myself thinking about what it'll be like when I come home. What I'm refering to here is the inevitable reverse-culture shock. I mean ... where to start? Reliable electricity (that I have to pay for), faster-than-lightning internet, trash-tv, produce aisles (hell, GROCERY STORES), fashion, private cars, movies and movie theatres, candy (and weight gain), the people I love, people I don't know paying absolutely no attention to me, running water, an existence devoid of any comic goat-related moments ... The list only gets longer ...

I just know it: I'm gonna turn into the crazy lady who has a bucket in her shower to bathe, uses only candles as light, and hordes any kind of container for water collection. I will also probably be incredibly cold. 90% of the time.

On the flipside, I'll (probably) overdose on fashion (it's inevitable, really), yell excited obscenities as I drive my own car down a real highway, and use up all my carbon-credit flying across the country to visit people EVERYWHERE. Basically, I'll be a terror; completely out of control. I imagine it'll be terrifying and awesome at the same time, kind of like the Tower of Terror.

What astounds me more than this inevitably loony behavior (almost, but not quite split-personality) is the sudden heightened awareness I'll have for anything in excess. It's going to drive me up the wall ... think about it:

I've not only watched, but experienced just how much effort's involved for most people to get access to water. I watch people walk miles, full basins balanced on their heads, in sweltering heat, for a daily supply. DAILY supply. How will I react when someone next to me in the bathroom runs the tap unnecessarily? Probably fly into an ugly hulk-like rage that ends in tears - mine, of course, as she walks around the crazy lady and toward to well-marked exit.

Can I possibly fight the urge to knock on every door in the neighborhood and tell them the merits of flourescent lights (the blue ones keep away bugs and induce groovy underwater hallucinations); or that they could simply turn OFF most of them to reduce their carbon footprint? Reading by candlelight is fun! And romantic! Besides, no light's gonna keep the hoodoo voodoo man away at night ... sorry, little Tommy.

Just contemplating our excessive nature (as a country) makes me want to curl into a whimpering ball. I've adjusted to my new life so well, it almost seems impossible to need as much as the average household uses (and wastes). Nevermind the crippling self-esteem issues I'll develop with such a drastic drop in marriage proposals and child-parades; it'll be like beating my fists against a brick wall. The waste potential of a produce aisle might make my heart burst! Which is likely, anyway, considering the sudden variety offered to me.

How do I prepare? Is there some kind of Peace Corps bootcamp where Billy Zane comes and beats my ass back into shape? Would I go back, given the chance, to a blissful existence, blindfolded to the rest of the world's struggles? The answer is definitely 'no.' I am going to voluntarily turn into a crazy, walking contradiction; a well dressed, philosophical wreck; a giddy, technology-crazed ball of simultaneous guilt and unbridled joy. This is gonna get weird ... you've all been warned.