It all began with this morning’s walk with my husband. The idea to try and increase my exercise came after that “Ah-Ha” moment when I realized, I mean really got, it that I am pretty overweight. Now, when I shop at Macy’s I have to go to the “Women’s” (translation “Fat Ladies’) section located way in the back on 5th floor in the San Francisco store. So-o-o on Tuesdays and Thursdays I work out with my great PT, Molly who fortunately for me was a therapist in her previous profession. Good combo. On the OTHER days I have made it a goal to walk with my husband in our neighborhood. Enjoyable enough, it’s just that I have to get up earlier to do that. Sort of conflicts with my “night person” rhythm. Regardless, I am working on it.
This morning’s walk was different. I made a personal observation that would have made my college Sociology professor proud. Here goes: So on this particular walk, we pounded the pavement to our nearest grocery store. Harry needed to buy some coffee creamer, as we were dangerously low at home. As we left with the purchase we passed by the fresh flower corner. There were flowers on the wall in racks, in vases, and planters. Roses, orchids, baby’s breath and many more types whose names I did not know (I grew up in apartment). What caught my eyes today were the flower arrangements on display. I was struck by how colorful they were. Kind of reminded me of traditional Mexican furniture. There were red flowers with bright yellow ones. Purple with pink and orange with white. I just happen to like bright colors and the lack of inhibition when used as decoration. This is like the art of much of Mexico. And there I was in a store in a suburb of Los Angeles. What I saw was the influence of one culture on another. The “art” of Mexico and many Central American countries was on display and I narrowly missed this observation because I was concentrating so hard on just completing my walk. It made me excited because here I was experiencing Mexico in Tarzana. However, being married to a scientist I knew I needed to come up with data to support my interpretation. So, I waited to see who was working the counter. Sure enough, the two women working with the flowers were speaking Spanish to each other. I could be wrong, but this made me think they were probably Latina or Hispanic.
My observation is this: often we are unaware of our cultural influences because we think we can only get to view Mexican art in a museum or eat authentic pasta in Italy (Pasta, BTW, because according to the ‘Macaroni Journal’ by the Association of Food Industries states that pasta was brought to Italy by Marco Polo via China. Polo ventured to China in the time of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and the Chinese had been consuming noodles as early as 3000 B.C. in the Qinghai province.
If you haven’t gotten the point of this post by now, you are in trouble.
And finally, as further evidence of subtle influences of various cultures, I must point out that I have to remove my shoes before entering the home of middle son and his wife. Believe me, for better or worse, that was not a rule in the house he grew up in. I’m gonna give this practice some thought. Perhaps it will lead to good Karma.