I met an American for the first time today. It was surreal.

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Jules
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I met an American for the first time today. It was surreal.

Post by Jules »

Yes, it's true. I'd never met an American person in real life before.

My interaction with this person - a teenage girl who I'm pretty certain in not yet 18 - was so incredibly weird and odd. It happened while I was waiting for the bus at the Valletta terminus this morning.

She was incredibly rude to me. So rude it was spectacular. I didn't even say anything. No one has ever spoken to me the way she did. I was stunned.

Maltese society isn't exactly renowned for first-class courtesy, but nobody here would have the nerve to say the things she told me to somebody they don't know.

I'm not sure whether she is a "normal" teenager or whether there's something wrong with her.

I would like to post the whole story here, if only to get thoughts from you guys. However, I feel a bit skittish about it especially if it makes me look a bit stupid.

I know I really should have ignored her, but I was so fascinated by her that I pretended that I wasn't offended and kept talking just to see what else she'd say. I feel like I sacrificed my dignity just for sheer, morbid curiosity.
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Nandor
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by Nandor »

As a fan of NotAlwaysRight and AskAManager, I'd like to read it.
As a lurker, I can't promise I'll reply.
So yeah, this is a useless response :lol:
Asante sana, squash banana, wewe nugu, mimi hapana.
Jules
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by Jules »

Nandor wrote:As a fan of NotAlwaysRight and AskAManager, I'd like to read it.
As a lurker, I can't promise I'll reply.
So yeah, this is a useless response :lol:
Not entirely useless. At least I know I have an audience, lol, albeit a silent one. :P

I wonder if I can share the story attached as a PDF file. Attachments are accessible only to registered members, right? Not to anybody who winds up on this url?

Ftr, there's nothing in the story that reflects badly on me. I did nothing wrong. It just feels weird making it easily accessible to everybody on the planet, especially since I mention some minor personal details in it.
Jules
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by Jules »

OK, I've turned the story into a piece of creative writing. Hope I haven't made too many stylistic errors.

For those of you reading it - it is completely factual. It happened yesterday. Never mind the fact that it reads like a work of fiction.

I hope not all American teenagers are like this. :brick:

EDIT: Gah ... the forum software won't let me upload a PDF file!

DOC and RTF isn't allowed either. What IS allowed?
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blackcauldron85
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by blackcauldron85 »

I am intrigued, Jules! Is it too long to copy/paste from your computer's document to a normal forum post? I don't know anything about uploading attachments here.
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Jules
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by Jules »

blackcauldron85 wrote:I am intrigued, Jules! Is it too long to copy/paste from your computer's document to a normal forum post? I don't know anything about uploading attachments here.
Hey Amy (and everyone else)! :)

Sotiris suggested I link to a file-hosting site, so here is a direct link to a publicly shared folder on my OneDrive containing the PDF file in question.

https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArwolMa1GRmtyQweRkM ... p?e=Mgm5gb

It's a bit of a long read, but I trust it is an interesting one. :P

I'd like to clarify that when I wrote that it "reads like fiction" in my earlier post, it's not because some incredibly extraordinary things happen. (Don't go in expecting The Big Lebowski :wink:)

What I meant was that I didn't write it in the style of a report. I figured that if I'm going to spend time writing this I might as well have fun with it. I wanted to write descriptively and expressively, and avoid the dry (but necessary) language of factual reporting.

Still, I stress that despite the somewhat flowery language it is a highly accurate account of what occurred.

Also, hope you all aren't shocked at my passivity as described in the text. I'm not usually quite like that. :wink:

Also hope you don't read all the way through it and wind up scratching your head wondering what the fuss was all about. Perhaps you guys meet people like this all the time, but I guess I'm not used to it! :embarrassed: :lol:

EDIT: Just reread it, eight hours after completing it, and *gasp*, I need to proofread it at least 50 more times until I'll be happy. There are way too many dialogue tags and awkwardly constructed sentences. It's amazing how while writing it and checking incessantly these flaws are mostly invisible, and when you take a break from your work it looks awful when you get back to it. :lol:

This whole post is sh!t actually. I guess I fuss less when posting on the forum. If I did, I would never click "Submit". :milkbuds:
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Farerb
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by Farerb »

It seems to me that you ran into an incredibly rude and immature person who tried to make fun at you. I don't think it's necessarily an American thing since I've met people who are like that that aren't American, and while I'm not an American, I have relatives who are and they are very polite.
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Jules
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by Jules »

Farerb wrote:It seems to me that you ran into an incredibly rude and immature person who tried to make fun at you. I don't think it's necessarily an American thing since I've met people who are like that that aren't American, and while I'm not an American, I have relatives who are and they are very polite.
Thank you Farerb. :) I feel a bit relieved that I'm not the only person who finds her attitude sickening.

It's funny because in her eyes, I am the immature man-child and she is better than me. Come to think of it, wasn't it rather unwise of her to speak so cockily to a stranger? Think of it: she is presumably in a strange country unaccustomed with the local culture, she is alone with me, she looks like a strong gust of wind could blow her away and I stand 6'4" and probably thrice her size by mass.

What if I was a violent man? Perhaps she can read people and could tell I am no thug, but what if she read me wrong? Maybe I was acting all along and only pretending to be a softie. :shrug:

To be fair, I am also rather disturbed at my own behaviour. Why did I let her talk to me that way? Yes, I know I said I was stunned by her attitude and kept talking to see what else she'd say. That is true and certainly played a huge factor in my meekness. However, I'm not sure it is the only thing. Did I excuse her because she's not Maltese and perhaps that behaviour is "accepted" where she's from?

I am a very gentle person, and it takes a lot to get me to lose my temper. (But when I lose it, I really lose it - so watch out. :P ) While I certainly was never going to shout at her, or assault her verbally with vulgar language (I'm not that type), I fear that my passivity gave all the wrong signals. She probably thought I'm a clueless pushover who either likes being bullied or is too stupid to realise they're being taken for a ride. (It seemed pretty obvious she thought I was woefully unintelligent.)

That's not the case.

If a Maltese person had behaved the exact same way, I'm pretty sure I would have kept my composure. However, I would have let them know what I thought of them, looking away and refusing to speak to them. Then again, a local would never have talked to me that way. This was new to me. It's funny because let me assure you all that my country has its fair share of rude, entitled, arrogant, ignorant and poorly educated teenagers - and that group gets larger by the day. :( However, even local crass delinquents would not have had the nerve to speak to me that way. They might have gotten to that stage if I started talking to them, and it would still feel out-of-character for them. (They'd probably say or do other awful things, but not behave the way this girl did.) In the end, they'd probably mind their own business and would never have even spoken to me after my outburst at the missed bus, even if they thought I looked like an idiot.

Then again, while "rude", "entitled" and "arrogant" describe this girl to a T, I am not sure she is "ignorant" and "poorly educated." Well, I guess she is ignorant to an extent - her behaviour proves that. But not entirely ignorant.

By the way, I don't want to sound like I jumped to conclusions and figured that all American teenagers are this way. :) I think I'm still a bit shocked that some of them are this way. I suppose I was happier living in ignorance and unaware this behaviour exists, and I wish the first American I met was a lovely and friendly person like many of you on this site. Don't worry. I'll get over it, you yanks. :P

I felt another weird sensation.

Many years ago on this site I revealed that I'm an autistic person. I am high functioning, and apparently the type of autistic person that doesn't look even remotely autistic to other people. (When I mention it to people I know, they are taken aback and almost do not believe me.) While for many years following my diagnosis I actually doubted it, I am now convinced that I am indeed autistic, and I don't mind one bit. (While I may not really exhibit classic symptoms, I exhibit others, but these symptoms are invisible to most people.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short ... socialising and interacting with people has never really been an issue for me even if my diagnosis says otherwise.

However, with this girl I felt autistic in ways I'd never felt before. It's like for those twenty or so minutes my autism levels went through the roof, and the "classic symptoms" I thought I didn't have seemed to surface for the first time.
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Nandor
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by Nandor »

Thanks for posting - it was indeed an interesting read.
I'd probably have reacted in much the same way, but then, I'm also neuro divergent. I'm polite to a fault, and won't recognise insults until a good half-hour after the fact. This girl could have had a field day with me.
I'd say her attitude is definitely a result of her cultural upbringing, but, as she pointed out, we don't know where she's from. I wouldn't assume everyone in her homestate has the same lack of manners, let alone the entire USA. All we can really say is her parents failed, and that's bad enough.
I'd file this away under 'interesting interactions I once had'.
Asante sana, squash banana, wewe nugu, mimi hapana.
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blackcauldron85
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Re: I met an American for the first time today. It was surre

Post by blackcauldron85 »

Thanks for posting, Jules! As an American, I wasn't too surprised- I've definitely known people that would talk with someone in a comfortable manner when they were strangers...I don't filter myself too much but I'm nice. Maybe she was lonely, by herself, away from home, and she just wanted someone to talk with, even though she doesn't know you. I think she didn't want to be pigeonholed as how "all" Americans should be so maybe part of her attitude came from that? I think the rudest parts were when she said how silly you looked chasing the bus and when she said she wouldn't trust you as a music teacher since you look young. I mean, throwing in some "f-bombs" doesn't faze me since that's how a lot of people here talk even to strangers. I'm sorry your first American meeting didn't meet your expectations!
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