It's hard to describe to Americans who haven't experienced it what reverse culture shock feels like. It's a culture shock that shouldn't be a culture shock because this is your culture. It forces upon you the realization that the reason you feel like a foreigner everywhere isn't just because you are, in fact, a foreigner.
The headlines about America--which of course I've been studying from Turkey--led me to expect something different. I expected to find everyone screaming at each other about the economy. I keep reading, after all, that "Americans are angry."
You would not think that I, of all people, would make this mistake, but I suppose I forgot that what I say to Americans about the news from abroad also applies to the news from home: Angry people make the news, happy or indifferent people do not.
In fact, not one person I've met has brought up the subject of the economy spontaneously since I arrived. When I bring it up, the general reaction is abstracted and distant. You'd have no idea from any conversation I've overheard so far that debt ceiling negotiations are taking place. Some people are paying a bit more attention, but I can't make sense of their reaction to it--I don't mean this intellectually, I mean this emotionally.
I truly can't make sense of the affect, or lack thereof, that I've seen so far. Does this apparent lack of emotion represent "quietly terrified, but amazingly stoic?" Or does it represent "completely indifferent?"
What I expected to encounter--what I braced myself for--were "stupid but passionately held opinions." What I'm in fact encountering is no opinion, or a fairly realistic assessment of the seriousness of this debate and its implications--but no visible emotion about it.
Anyone want to help me understand what this means?