Monday, March 12, 2012


My rather antisocial personality has led me to despise the overly social Egyptian customs. Okay, maybe despise it too strong of a word...let's just say "have difficulty with." I'm used to entering a grocery store or clothing store and being able to mull over the things I want without being disturbed, and when I'm ready, I take them to the cashier (or even more detached - the automated check-out). And I like it that way.

I hate shopping in Egypt, especially for clothes. I used to enjoy going into a store and browsing, and now it's extremely difficult to do so since a) I don't have my sisters to shop with, and my husband hates shopping (naturally), and more importantly, b) the sales person is on you like a hawk on a mouse in an open field. Right when you enter, they ask if you are looking for something specific, but that part is okay. The problem is this person begins to follow your every move, eying your every facial expression. And if you so much as dare to pick up a shirt, she'll quickly pipe in: "we have your size in this, and it's so pretty, it's totally in style!"

First of all, you don't know what my size is. Second of all, it's ugly and I was just picking it up to get a closer look at its ugliness. Thirdly, it was never "in style" unless you existed in a parallel universe where gold buttons, awkward frills, and incorrect English were in style. This is why I revel in the few stores here that are antisocial - those that are too big and too busy for people to bother you.

I miss the disconnected indifference of North American culture. People here are just in your face all the time, they want to know what you cooked today, and why you don't call them every single day of your life (they get offended if you skip a day of talking to them), they want to know WHY you do the things you do, or say what you say, or wear what you wear. They need to know. And when you don't cooperate, you're seen as a strange and difficult person.

Mostly, I just want people to leave me alone.

1 comment:

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