Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Neighbors and Noise

LATEST NEWS: We might get evicted outta our apartment within the next 21 days! We've been getting regular notices for a while because of noise complaints from our neighbor downstairs but, today we got our final warning - One more complaint in the next 21 days and we will be KICKED OUT!

I must say it's kinda excitin though! This is the closest I've gotten to anythin illegal or requiring being kicked out! :) I always wanted to be one of those cool college kids who party all nite till the cops are called to quiet them down! But sadly, my life is not quite that excitin- No late nite parties here, only late nite studyin- and we get complaints for that!

The first notice we got said that we were walkin too loud in the nite- walkin of all things! So, we bought everyone in the house soft chappals and put carpet on the floors... That kept the lady downstairs quiet for a while. Then, the next complaint was that we were moving things on the floor too late in the nite... So we stopped draggin our furniture- we only LIFT them past 11. This was followed by a string of complaints for loud music, talkin too loud...I'm waitin for the 'breathin too loud' notice now!

Sometimes the lady downstairs decides to take matters into her own hands...Literally! I'll never forget the time when I was sitting on the floor late one night packing for a morning flight. I had to drag out my suitcase from under the bed and immediately after I had pulled it out, I felt two or three sudden thuds on the floor, right where I was sitting. It really took me by surprise. Apparently the lady thought she would inform me of the noise I was making by using a pole to bang on her ceiling, my floor! So, we have these mini earthquakes nowadays to let us know that we are being too loud. I wonder... Does she ever sleep? Or does she wait all night with a long pole in her hand, listening for the slightest noise, waiting to bang at the ceiling?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Only in the US!

I've been in the US for over 7 years now and there are some things here which I still cant get used to.

'Dont talk to strangers'
Whats with all these strangers asking me how I am- Do they really care? And when they ask that, what am I supposed to say? "Well my program didn't work in lab, I have to present my research tomorrow but, all I've been doing is sleeping in front of the computer, so not so great!" Truth is before I can even say 'I'm fine', they've already walked past me.

What's worse is when they actually want to carry on a long conversation. For example, when sitting next to someone on the bus or taking the elevator, I feel like saying ' I don't even know you, do I really have to listen to your stories about what your dog did today.. and worse, pretend to care?' Back home in India, when you see a stranger on the road, you usually just give him a cold stare implying 'what u looking at me for?' - Its not considered rude or anti-social, its normal!

Sue-crazy Americans
Only in America can you sue a fast food company because you spilled coffee on yourself- and actually win a million dollars! This is one of the many silly court cases that take place in the US. A lady sued a fast food joint for not having labels on their coffee lids saying that the hot coffee may actually be hot...and she won. This cautionary label is found on all lids now! You can sue anyone for anything in the US-and its very evident that companies, Doctors and even regular people live under the constant fear of being sued for their actions. Thats why you can find sleeping pills with the warning 'may cause drowsiness' and match boxes with the label 'the contents may catch fire'. Dumbed down America, anyone?

All that food!
Why are the serving sizes in the US so large?? Everything from a starbucks coffee cup (the smallest size is called TALL) to a plate of pasta is huge- A good example is popcorn at the movie theaters - picture a water bucket, filled to the rim with popcorn and drizzled with a good amount of butter- Thats what it looks like.

Now, I am a desert freak- absolutely luv them. But, I hardly ever get to eat deserts when I go out here- By the time I finish half of the main dish, I have no space for anything more! :( Me thinks the US restaurant ppl need to go take a look at Saravana Bhavan- Their sizes are so small that everyone orders two, three dishes... So, they end up making more money and the customer is also happy cuz they get to taste a variety of things. Kinda like having the cake and eatin it too... Oooh... CAKE!