Monday, 28 June 2010

Hyperactive Americans

Americans pride themselves on being active folks. That however is far too modest a claim, rather they are hyperactive. Ever watched a TV-series made in America? Take my alltime favourite, the West Wing: Everybody's constantly running around while at the same time solving problems ...

In October and November 2005, I taught English in Istanbul. One of my students was a university professor. Her English was fluent, she gave guest lectures at American universities. Why did she take classes? I asked her. She wanted to feel more confident when socially dealing with her “hyperactive colleagues from Michigan”, she said.

Or, in the words of an islander in the Pacific (in "Equator" by Thurston Clarke, one of the best travel books I've ever read): "Our only criticism was that the Americans were too quick with their OKs … They were always saying 'OK OK OK OK … Let’s move'. They were in too much of a hurry, that’s why they lost so many men."

And lately, while rereading parts of "Grace and Grit" by Ken Wilber, I came across this one: " ... that her first impression of Americans was how frantic they seemed to her, with all their busyness and rushing around."

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