Thursday, July 14, 2011

Culture Crisscross

I'm a little stirred up in the routine department so I haven’t been writing regularly. Among other things I have been introduced to a show called Drop Dead Diva. Long story short - a skinny blond model dies in a car crash and through a mix-up at the Pearly Gates she goes back to earth as a plus-sized lawyer. She has the brains (and body) of the lawyer but the memory of the model.

The premise is very creative. It got me thinking through a different switch up. I was telling my sister-in-law that I think it’d be interesting to do a swap of bodies/personalities from two different cultures; a kind of a cultural Freaky Friday if you will.

Here’s what I mean: Take my Kenyan girlfriend Jane who’s an internal auditor at a bank in Nairobi. Imagine we are going on vacation together somewhere and lightning strikes the plane. Somehow Jane and Jan switch bodies and now Jane (in Jan’s body) is back in the US having never lived there before (though she does know quite a bit about the culture) and Jan is inside Jane’s body and has to work in the corporate world of Nairobi. Yikes!

I think it’d be a new twist on the kind of humor I find most entertaining; cross cultural mix-ups. If I were writing this show you’d be able to hear the thoughts in Jane’s voice while she maneuvers through this crazy American landscape. As I told this idea to my sister-in-law she said, “Because that’s how you feel, right?” She couldn’t have hit it more squarely on the nose. And that’s why I believe I could write it well.

Of course I would need some help to make it funny because sometimes being a Kenyan in an American’s body is just plain old lonely. Even when we switched back, we’d never be the same again. We would have learned how it looks from the other’s viewpoint.

Even now the internal monologue seems to just keep running, a constant flow of what seems strange to me on the inside, while I continue to weave my way through the circumstances that face me every day, trying to act the way I should based on how people perceive me. I wonder if I will ever get over it. If I’m really honest, I don’t want to get over it. But I do want to understand and fit in and go back to having good deep friendships here, too. I don’t want to always be an outsider.

I guess I need to give it more time.