The other day I had a technical problem with something online and called an 800 number. I got someone whose English was so precise and proper I immediately knew this wasn't the U.S. I asked where he was based and where he was from -- Delhi, India on both counts. We started yakking as I was in Delhi many years ago and we quickly found common ground sharing stories as he patiently helped me navigate the online maze, deciphering my Bronx accent without a hitch.
I've gotten the U.K., South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Casablanca, Morocco and yesterday two lovely women in the Philippines. I didn't know there were more than 7,100 islands that composed the Philippines. I love to learn new things about our world even if I have no idea if or when they may ever serve me in my life. These women were super informative and ready to share their country with me. I in turn shared mine. Our conversations were sweet, super helpful and super informative. One time, I called for a Spanish-speaking friend who didn't trust his English or the 'press for Spanish option.' He looked at me funnily, kind of amused, while I chatted away as if I was talking with friends. At the end of these conversations they were friends.
I love speaking to 'foreigners.' I always learn something new, always find something to share even if the pronunciation throws me. I don't mean to say I don't love talking to Americans as well. I made a friend 'Lenny' somewhere in Ohio who gave me his direct number in case I have any more problems. It doesn't get better than that in the world of talking to computers or pressing buttons or just hanging up in frustration, as I guess many companies want.
Some may think I have a screw loose. For me after 'navigating the maze' or finally getting to a live person, speaking with folks in other countries is a little heart, a 'reach out' that makes our world a smaller place. It's communicating with others, even over tech stuff and learning something about them and their culture along the way. Making what could be an unpleasant task into a joyful one.
Now these same folk who think I must have a screw loose insist these folks in all these foreign countries are taking or have taken sorely needed jobs away from Americans. How can I befriend the enemy?
I don't see an enemy. I don't blame folks who need jobs for the lack of jobs in our country. I am not diminishing the horror of our unemployment, of the economic situation here and at large, but I don't believe the fault lies at the hands of folks just like us who want to support themselves and their families and have a better life. A bit off tangent here but it reminds me of the nurse I met yesterday who informed me that rising hospital costs were due to 'all these folk who have babies and can't pay.' Really?
My grandmother used to say: one door closes, another opens. Got me thinking. I know what has closed, but what is opening? Can we find the silver lining in this cloud? Can we try to do things differently, find and create different jobs, create different industries? Our country, as sometimes we need to do personally, maybe needs to reinvent itself as we have to periodically reinvent ourselves during the course of our lifetimes. Change, upheaval can be traumatic, can be frightening for sure but we are a nation of innovators, risk takers, or we probably wouldn't be Americans in the first place.
Stands to reason it is evident we are living in a global economy. Doesn't it also stand to reason we must become global in our consciousness? If we stay 'nationalistic' stay insular, trying to go back to what once was, it will be a losing proposition. Things have changed. The die is cast. Perhaps the universe is telling us to embrace each other, open that door. Do away with the "us" and "them." This cloud needs a silver lining. Perhaps this is it.
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