As I stood in front of a shelf full of unfamiliar jars of pasta sauce, I thought to myself, “What have you done?”
People have been asking me, “So, New Zealand – are you excited?” for a couple of months now. It’s gotten to the point where my answers have become rote, though still entirely genuine. I talk about weather, schools, wind, and driving on the wrong side of the road.
After all, Wellington wasn’t going to be so different from Philadelphia. It was another major city with cars and people and houses. I kept that comforting thought fixed in my mind. Even as we traipsed through airports, customs, and wrestling our rental car, the pure weight of our move hadn’t really struck me.
Not like it did in the grocery store.
In that moment standing in front of the pasta sauce, I like to think that I was transmitting a very specific, very serious distress signal that Douglas Adams described so well in the first chapter of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
This signal simply communicates an exact and almost pathetic sense of how far that being is from the place of his birth. On Earth it is never possible to be further than sixteen thousand miles from your birthplace, which really isn’t very far, so such signals are too minute to be noticed. Ford Prefect was at this moment under great stress, and he was born 600 light years away in the near vicinity of Betelgeuse.
In fact, I am a mere eight thousand, eight hundred, and eighty-two miles from my birthplace. Maybe that’s why no one caught on to my signal. As distressing as it was to me, it was far too minute for anyone else to notice. [Read more…] about ripping off the culture shock band-aid (of groceries)