Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beep Beep, Beep Beep YEAH!

I know what your asking yourselves--"Why is she quoting the most annoying Beatles song ever written?" Well, I'll tell you. One, it's simply appropriate because of all the constant honking. Of course, the YEAH!s are not nearly as common as the beep beeps, but you can't have one without the other. It's simply not done. Two, we have purchased a car and hired a driver so now the beep beeps are coming from our very own car! (A Hindustan Motors Ambassador!)

So now we have a maid and a driver. That is a sentence I never ever thought I would type.

It's a little weird having "staff" (for lack of a better word.) I've mentioned the maid before, who is wonderful, mainly because I no longer have to wash dishes or clean (both of which I tend to do in a half-assed manner anyway.) Well, that's not entirely true, I still wash dishes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and over the weekend. (Just an FYI, Mr. ATK has not washed a dish since we have been in this country. I'm just (passive aggressively) sayin'.)

Now having a driver is a little odd. Having a maid is a little odd, too, but at least we had a cleaning lady when I was growing up, so having someone clean for you isn't that weird. Of course, I always hid in the basement when the cleaning lady came. The maid is here for 9 hours and we have no basement, so I mainly just sit around and watch her clean, which was a little odd at first. It is kind of odd having someone cook for me. Let me clarify that, it's kind of odd having someone who is neither my husband nor mother cook for me. As I typed this, the maid just came into the room with a mixed vegetable dish she had made a few days ago, which we hadn't even tried yet. She's like, "Did you not like this? Do you not like green beans?" I was like, "Uh... well, no... We like green beans. We just didn't get around to trying that dish. Um... I guess we forgot about it." I felt kind of sheepish admitting neither of us had even tried the dish. I assured her we would eat the green beans forthwith. They are some pretty decent green beans. Not the best, but not awful. What I find funny is that I actually feel slightly guilty for not eating my vegetables, which is odd because I never felt guilty about not eating my vegetables when my mother made them. Yet for some reason, I don't want to upset this lady that I pay to do stuff for me. Not that I make it a priority to try and upset anyone, or that employing someone gives you some inherent right to treat them like crap (regardless of what Republicans think. Because if they don't like it, they can go get another job!) Anyways, I can't really articulate it, but it's an odd feeling. I should be able to say, "Eh, I'm not feeling the green beans. Throw them away." (After all, I did technically purchase the green beans in the first place.) But I'm more prone to sneakily throw them away so she doesn't feel bad. Not that she would feel bad. I don't know.

So having a driver is actually weirder than having a maid, because you know, the maid keeps busy all day. There's laundry! There's cleaning! There's ironing! Cooking! Shopping! You know... stuff to do. A driver, well he drives the car. Since we have no desire to drive our own car in this crazy town, a driver is crucial. Otherwise, we would just have a car parked in front of our building and that doesn't help anyone. So the driver drives. But where to? Well, he comes at 7:30 to take Mr. ATK (and soon me as well) to work. And then he comes to work at 5:30 and takes him (soon to be us) home. Well that leaves about 8 hours in the middle of the day when he is doing.... what exactly? Not a whole lot.

Now, granted, he is also responsible for the car and since we bought a bit of a beater, he has had to take it to the mechanic a few times and fix a flat tire, stuff like that. So that's one way he can spend his day. Also, he runs errands and takes the maid to the market or wherever she needs to go. He'll also starting walking the dog three times a day once I start working. But you know, none of these things take a very long time. So what's he do in the meantime? Well, he sits in a chair outside. At first, I was a little concerned because I knew he would have a lot of down time, and I didn't know what he did while waiting to drive me somewhere. Does he just sit in the car? Am I supposed to let him hang out in the apartment? And then I worried that I was a bad person for not wanting him to hang out in the house. I mean, it's 110 degrees here and I want him to sit outside all day. Of course, then I slowly came to realize that all the people sitting in plastic chairs on the "sidewalks" all day were other people's drivers. Then I didn't feel so bad for making him sit outside.

At first, Mr. ATK and I (but Mr. ATK in particular) were a little chafed by the idea of paying someone when they aren't doing anything. You know, when we were negotiating the contract the driver mentioned providing tea and bread (for breakfast) and "dinner money" (if we go out at night, we would give him something so he can eat while waiting for us) and while neither of those thing is very expensive (in fact, they are very cheap), we were both a little suspicious--is this customary or is this guy trying to pull one over on the dumb Americans? Plus, it's hard to get over the fact that I'm paying you to sit around and do nothing most of the day. Part of me is thinking, You worked for like 20 minutes today; buy your own dinner. Drivers also get paid more than maids so you look at the two and you think, She's working all day for half as much money. She doesn't ask for lunch or breakfast or dinner money. This contributes to mild feelings of resentment as well. But upon further reflection and discussion with Mr. ATK, I had a bit of an epiphany. First, duh, the maid only works three days a week and the driver works six, so there's most of you pay disparity right there. Second, the driver's job is pretty important. Like, I can't do most of what the driver does (e.g. drive a manual transmission (in this crazy city nonetheless!), diagnose mechanical problems, fix said problems, etc.) I can do what the maid does. I don't like it, and she is better at doing pretty much everything, but if she's not here to cook me dinner, I'm not going to starve.

Plus, he may not be constantly moving about doing things like the maid, but he is still "on the clock" all day. It's not when he is not driving he gets to do whatever he wants. Maybe some days he has a lot of errands to run and maybe some days he spends most of his time sitting in a chair outside next to the car, but he always has to be ready to go. If I call him and say, "Can you go drive across town to pick up some dog laxatives? The laxative store closes in 20 minutes." He has to jump up and go. As for the food, well, what does the maid eat? I mean she is here from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, she must eat something, right? We figure she must eat some of what she prepares for us. Well, we pay for all that (the food, labor, etc.) but we don't begrudge her having a bowl of lentils or whatever, so why get all stingy with a loaf of bread?

Anyways, as we've processed all this, we've come to the conclusion that having domestic help is awesome and having a driver in particular has been particularly handy. Since we've gotten the car, we've gone more places and started seeing the sights around New Delhi. Since no one wakes up in this country before noon, we generally have no problems with crowds or heat when we show up at 9:30 AM.

Now all I have to do is take the time to upload the pictures....

Monday, April 16, 2012

By popular request...

Delhi Milk Scheme

As you may or may not know, India is a very large country with many different languages. Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, etc. (Funny aside: On one of Mr. ATK's first days of work he came home and told me he'd come across a group of people who didn't speak English or Hindi. Since he interviews people in English, and most of his colleagues speak Hindi, usually they can cover most people that they encounter. But this group didn't speak either. I asked, "Oh, do they speak Urdu?" "No," he says, "They spoke something called Telugu. Whatever that is." Then after a pause, he was like, "Like I should talk. I speak Kirghiz. Watch, there's probably like 20 million people who speak this Telugu." So I looked it up on the very handy interwebs (such a useful series of tubes and wires). Telugu is the 2nd/3rd most spoken language in India with 74 million speakers. That tops the 4 million or so that speak Kirghiz. Anyways, we found it amusing because neither of us had heard of this language and we kind of dismissed it as some exotic indigenous language, and here it is, like, the 13th most spoken language in the world. Now we know. And knowing is half the battle.)

Anyways, in addition to the native languages of India, there is also quite a bit of English--you know, because of that whole colonization by the British thing. In fact, it is one of the 23 official languages of India. So while it seems to me, most people speak Hindi, a lot of people speak varying degrees of English (or "Hinglish"--a Hindi/English combo not unlike "Spanglish") and there are many signs in English. However, a lot of the English seems... odd. Now, I know that Indian English comes from British English which is different than our American English. So you know, they say "lift" instead of "elevator," "capsicum" instead of "bell pepper," and probably "torch" instead of "flashlight." I get that.

No, what I'm referring to is the choice of words used to name things, usually businesses. Like the Delhi Milk Scheme. What do you think of when you hear that? I think of some sort of devious plan to scam people using milk. Like a milk-based Ponzi scheme, perhaps. I mean, "scheme" is a pejorative term for us, so anything labeled a "scheme" I tend to think is bad by definition. So there are these little stands all over the city labeled "Delhi Milk Scheme" and I thought, Some sort of crime syndicate is clearly taking advantage of the calcium market in India. And they are so blatant about it! Not even trying to hide it! But no, the Delhi Milk Scheme is apparently a program run by the government that was set up to provide dairy products to the denizens of Delhi at reasonable prices. Why, that doesn't sound like a scheme at all!  That sounds like a very nice program that helps people. Clearly, scheme does not mean the same thing here as it does in the US.

(Amusing side note: If you click on the "About Us" link on the Milk Scheme's website, they just have an organizational chart. Ah, government.)

Other amusing English names I've seen tend to be related to security companies. You see pretty much every house in our neighborhood has a security guard stationed outside of it. Don't worry, we are not in a high crime area (probably because there are tons of security guards everywhere.) Anyways, the security guards are contracted through private security companies, so they all wear uniforms indicating what company they work for. So far I've seen "Decent Security," "Competent Security," and "Generous Security." Now, I guess, if describing the work I perform, there are worse adjectives than "decent" or "competent." But those two aren't exactly inspiring. It's like, "I can do my job adequately." Ok. That's good. (Perhaps I'll run across "Adequate Security" next.) As for "generous," well, that one just leaves me scratching my head. Again, they aren't totally off--it's not like the company is named "Terrible Security" or anything, but "Decent Security" as a company name makes me chuckle.

It reminds me a little bit of Bolivia or even Korea when businesses would use English words or phrases in advertising and either spell them wrong, or use words and phrases that didn't make any sense. But it's extra puzzling because English is one of India's official languages (unlike the other two countries.) I imagine words just have slightly different meanings here (because I've yet to see an Indian read "Decent Security" and laugh.)

And this is why cross cultural experiences are awesome. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

So I was walking the dog the other day....

Now, before I start, I realize that in my last post I said I don't want to be one of those people who talks about their dog all the time and here I am, not one post later, talking about my dog. Quite frankly, it doesn't bode well for the future. But before I get flooded with comments saying, "Stop telling me where your dog took a crap and tell me about India!" this is a really interesting story. Er, well, maybe I mean, "This is a story." (I wish I could figure out how to do strike through on this.)

So there are many dogs in India--wild and domesticated. Since I'm in a fancier neighborhood, most of the pet dogs are pure breeds (dalmatians, pugs, labs, golden retrievers, etc.) We happen to have a rescued dog which is an Indian Native dog. She looks like a yellow lab, though, so she can pass in what I imagine are the higher doggy castes of India. But really, although she looks fancy, she is a doggy dalit.

Anyways, the street dogs are generally not very aggressive (unlike the street dogs in other countries--Bolivia, I'm looking at you!). Generally there seems to be an unspoken doggy-human social contract here where they don't bother you, and you don't hit them in the head with a giant stick. However, if you happen to be walking a puppy, then all bets are off. In fact, those street dogs will come after you with some ferocity which is why all dog owners seem to carry a special dog hitting stick when they walk their dogs. (I'm not kidding about it being a special stick. It's clearly some sort of purchased bamboo rod, not, like, some branch you break off a tree.) It's not as bad as I'm making it sound, I suppose. Usually in the middle of the day, it's too hot and the street dogs are pretty lethargic. They don't charge you with the same passion and commitment that they do when it's 6 in the morning and the streets are empty. Lazy dogs.

But I digress... the point I'm trying to make is that there are a lot of dogs here. And where you find many dogs, you also usually find a lot of dog poop. People are not in the habit of picking up after their dogs here. (Nor are they in the habit of doing that in any other country I've been too, except the US, so I'm not saying it to be judge-y or anything.) It seems to me people hire domestic staff and those people are expected to clean up around the outsides of their homes (you know, sweep the sidewalk and stuff.)

So I'm walking the dog and she poops in front of some guy's house. Now the house and small yard are enclosed with a gated fence, so it's not technically in his yard or anything. It would have been right in street in front of his driveway. Now, it's weird for me to walk a dog and let it poop and not pick it up. It just seems wrong, you know, because of social norms and mores and all that jazz that we live with in America. But, you know, if I don't have to carry around a steaming bag of poop with me as I walk through the neighborhood, I'm not going to. Plus, I'd probably be labelled as "The Weird White Lady who Carries a Bag of Poop with Her."

Anyways, the guy apparently saw us leaving this present in front of his house and so he follows me don't the street and confronts me. Now I don't deal with confrontation well, and I do feel guilty for not picking up after the dog (despite the fact that no one else here does!) So the guy is all, "Excuse me!" (in a polite way--it was actually a cordial conversation, not like I imagine the conversation would be if it were between two New Yorkers for example.) So here's the exchange:

Indian guy: Excuse me! Excuse me! Ma'am!

Me: Uh, yes?

Indian guy: Your dog just went to the bathroom in front of my house and you just left it there.

Me: Uh... yeah...

Indian guy: Where are you from?

Me: The United States...

Indian guy: Would you do that in your own country?

Me: Uh... no.

Indian guy: But you do it here in our country? (Here he gets a tad bit on the sanctimonious side.) You treat our country like this? We look up to you.

Me: Uh... I'm sorry, but there is poop everywhere here. I didn't know I was supposed to pick it up.

Indian guy: We look up to you. We go to your country and tell everybody how clean it is and how we should be that way. We want to be like you and here you are acting like us. (He gets that disappointed parental tone there.)

At this point I had several things going through my head. First, "Well, of course I'm acting more like you, I'm in India." I mean, there are lots of things I would do in America that I wouldn't do here--like wear a tank top, for example. Or take a taxi alone at night. Or wear a miniskirt or short shorts. (Okay, so I don't really do those last two things anyway, but it's the principle that I'm talking about here.)

Second, I think, "Postmodernist and critical race theorist would have a field day with this guy." You see, the whole idea of us (Americans/Westerners/white people(?)) being this paragon to aspire to, while their own culture or whatever is somehow wrong is very interesting. Like, would he have confronted an Indian person whose dog pooped in front of his house? I should start carrying around poop because I would do it at home? (I also kept thinking, "Yeah, it's also illegal in most cities to not pick up after your dog." You know, in addition to being considered incredibly rude.) Does he think that if I pick up after my dog, I'll start some new trend among all the other dog owners? (Quite frankly, I think I'll just be seen as the "Crazy Lady who Carries Poop.") Should I do it anyways because "it's the right thing to do"? I mean, there are all sorts of things that are acceptable in foreign cultures, but I wouldn't do them just because I can. Littering, for example. Or animal abuse. So many thought-provoking questions. Any thoughts, People Who Might Be Reading This?

If he had just gotten upset because the dog pooped in front of his house and he thinks that's gross, it would be one thing. But to frame it as "You should act better than we do" because, apparently, I should be better than they are, and to act disappointed that I acted in accordance to local custom... is kinda weird. I guess it's not terribly uncommon, though. It reminds me of the time in Bolivia when I was taking the bus back to my village and, as usual, the bus was running late. It was supposed to leave at 3 pm and it was around 3:15 and still being loaded. One very impatient lady kept yelling, "It's time to go! Come on!" and then looked at me and said, "This is the reason why Bolivia is not advancing! In your country the buses leave on time, right?" And I just nodded, but in my head I was thinking, There are a lot of pressing issues preventing Bolivia's growth and tardy buses does not even crack my top ten. (Though I guess it could be indicative of the larger problem.)

Anyways, so that's my story about walking the dog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My days as a lady of leisure are numbered...

Since arriving in India, Mr. ATK has been dutifully employed and working hard. I, on the other hand, not so much. I thought being a lady of leisure would be fun and give me time to explore, but in reality, it's pretty boring. The suffocating heat from 11 AM to 5 PM doesn't help either.

My life as a stay at home housewife has consisted mainly of cleaning (generally out of boredom--yes, that's how bored I have been) and dish washing (because we only have four of each utensil at the moment.) Then we got a dog. Life AD (After Dog) has consisted of cleaning, dish washing, and cleaning up after a puppy that chews everything and "eliminates" wherever. (I've learned from all the doggy sites I read that "eliminate" is the word we dog owners use for pooping and peeing.) On the up side, having a dog gives you something to work for--you know, training it and all. I got very excited when Mr. ATK and I finally got the dog to do her business while on a walk. She generally doesn't eliminate in the house anymore (even though the jumbo packs of puppy pads we ordered just arrived.) Plus, she can sit, fetch, and shake. She can also howl like a banshee when you leave her alone, but I digress... (I don't want to be one of those people who pend all their time boring you with stories about their dog, so if I start getting that way, gentle reader, let me know! Those comments sections are for you to use.)

Coinciding with the dog adopting was our hiring of a maid. She is a lifesaver. She comes three times a week, cleans the apartment, does laundry, goes to market, cooks, washes the dishes(!!)--stuff like that. So now I no longer clean, and I only wash the dishes intermittently. This means I can spend all my free time keeping the dog away from the clean floors, reading articles about how much of a tool Scott Walker is., and speculating on who the Packers will pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Yet this is not as fulfilling as it might sound.

So I applied for some jobs at the embassy and after much waiting, I got one! And now my days as a lady of leisure are numbered... as soon as I finish filling out this crazy security clearance form. It sure has been a stroll down memory lane, as I try to recall every single address I've had in the past ten years--especially the ones in countries that don't have addresses. Accounting for all foreign travel in the past seven years has likewise been challenging (Was I in Belize in '06 or '07 (or '08)? Curse those Carnival Cruises!) And the best of all has been going through every job I've had since 2002 and listing contact information for supervisors. One school I worked at in college apparently closed in 2007 and was converted to condos. Kinda hard to put down a phone number for that place.

Anyways, we'll see how this goes. Hopefully, I'll get cleared to start work within a month or so. But till then, I shall continue reading and cringing at the comments people make on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's website.

(Truly, there's some horrifying stuff out there.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

People are a bunch of cheapskates

So this isn't really about India per se, this is just me being annoyed and sharing my annoyance with anyone who happens to read this. (As of now, that is nobody. Except maybe Yong. Hi, Yong!)

Anyway, I'm trying to find a charity to donate to on a monthly basis. There are so many kids begging on the street here (though not as many as I thought, honestly) and it's really quite heartbreaking. They say not to give money to them because you can 1) attract a swarm of beggars and it can get dangerous and 2) most of the kids are "pimped out" for lack of a better term and have to give the money they get to some adult ringleader (like Fagin in Oliver! maybe. But with less singing.) Newcomers are advised to choose a charity and donate to that instead of giving to the people on the streets. Mr. ATK has already chosen a charity and donates to it monthly.

Well, as luck would have it, I had been accosted by a guy working for Children International while walking in Union Square in NYC before we left for India. He was trying to get me to sponsor a child because that's what they do. (You know, it's one of those "For the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can send little So-and-So to school for a year" things.) He seemed earnest enough but I'm not in the habit of giving out my credit card number to strangers I meet in New York City parks. I told him I couldn't make any decisions without consulting my husband (because I think that's what you are supposed to do when you are married) and that I was actually moving to India in two days. He mentioned that they have a program in India and I should check it out. I wasn't sure if this organization was really a scam, but then I saw that Debbie Gibson was playing for them on Celebrity Apprentice and I thought, Well if Debbie Gibson supports this charity, it must be on the up and up. Then I flew to India and forgot all about it.

Fast forward about a month... We are happily ensconced in our apartment here in New Delhi and are learning the lay of the land. When discussing donating to charities, I remember the guy from New York and I look up Children's International. They work in several different countries (mostly in Latin American countries) and according to several review sites, they are not a bunch on con artists. Over 80% of the revenues go to programs, with I think 13% going to fundraising and 7% going to other administrative costs. I find this an acceptable breakdown.

Of course, because I have the attention span of a goldfish, I started wondering about Bolivia and maybe sponsoring a child there (or donating to a charity at least.) You see Children International only sponsors children in Ecuador and Chile, not Bolivia. While I have no problems with either of those countries (despite hearing about Chilean ocean stealing for 3 years), it's not the same as helping Bolivia. I remember hearing about Save the Children working in Bolivia so I look them up. They do indeed work in Bolivia and have a sponsor a child program. Though I believe I know some people who work for them, I decide to look them up online and check out there IRS stuff, you know to see how all the money they get is divided up. Well, they have a similar spending breakdown as CI. But, and this is the whole point of this post, as I'm researching I'm reading reviews by donors and while 90% are incredibly positive, there is a small subset of reviews complaining that the CEOs get paid too much.

It seems that the CEO of Children's International gets about $450,000 a year and the Save the Children CEO gets around $375,000 a year. Apparently this is just outrageous to some people. Never mind that average CEO compensation for for-profit companies is over $10,000,000 a year in the US. If these CEOs do their jobs well (running large international organizations), less than half a million dollars a years doesn't seem so unreasonable to me. I guess people that work in altruistic endeavors should do them for free, but people who make widgets and sell them for profit, well they should be paid as much money as they possibly can. (Not that people who make and sell things shouldn't be compensated at market rates, just that apparently someone that runs an organization with 217 paid staff (and probably a bunch of volunteers) with offices in 10 countries should do it for $20,000 (or whatever it is that these random people consider "reasonable."))

Anyways, I think I'm going to donate to one of these organizations.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Also, cars are terrifying here!

I totally forgot to mention in my last post (all of yesterday) about how absolutely scary it is to be in a motorized vehicle on these streets. So they drive on the left, which isn't that weird most of the time, except we have habits of walking on the right side of the road so that creates some issues. It is really stressful (for me at least, not so much for Mr. ATK) when we turn left without stopping to check oncoming traffic or when we veer to the left to avoid an oncoming car. (You see most of the time we drive down the middle of the street. If there are lines on the road, we are most likely straddling them. So the veering is really just getting back into your own lane, but it feels like you are veering into oncoming traffic--for me at least.)

The first Saturday in country we took a taxi back from a party and I'm not convinced his brakes worked at top capacity. Basically everyone in front of you has the right of way (from what I can tell) but you usually drive behind them and lay on the horn if its a slower vehicle (like a tuk tuk or a bicycle rickshaw) then swerve around them. Usually, though there are only two marked lanes of traffic on the road, there are in practice about five lanes (slightly staggered)--leaving about five inched of space between the cars. Plus motorcycles and scooters are constantly swerving in and out. I'm usually not concerned that I will be injured, mainly that my taxi will rear-end that scooter carrying a family of five on it and they will all get hurt.

Also, people honk their horns constantly. It's just one constant cacophony of horns sounding all day. Even bicycle rickshaws are always ringing their little bicycle bells. They will just lay on the horn as they speed down the street. I imagine it is to let other vehicles approaching uncontrolled intersections know that "This car is coming through and it ain't stopping for no man!"

And while traffic lights (of the red, yellow, green variety) are obeyed for the most part, flashing red and yellow lights mean nothing. People just drive right into the intersection. Then, of course, they must stop once they all meet in the middle. Then lots of honking ensues. If I were a sociologist, I might try to write a paper about that.

I am getting more acclimated--I even rode in a tuk tuk--but the honking gets really irritating at times. Perhaps it will eventually become like "white noise." We'll see.

The Inaugural Post...

Yeah, so it's been about a month since I've arrived in India and this is my first post. Sorry about that. And it's not like I can say I've had a lot to do, because I really haven't. (I mean besides washing dishes. God, it feels like I'm always washing dishes.)

Anyways, Mr. ATK and I are adjusting well. He is off and running in his new job and I am what you would call a "lady of leisure," I suppose. This means, I read a lot, wander to the market and buy things (usually tomatoes) and surf the internet. It's rather boring. (It was especially boring in the first week when we had no internet and before I got my embassy ID. "Lady of Leisur-ing" is less boring with internet and access to the embassy pool. Still, I hope to get a job in the near future.)

So here's the straight skinny on life in India so far...

1.) Our apartment is very nice. Much bigger than anything Mr. ATK and I have had previously. Two bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms. So a nice bedroom to bathroom ratio. Could be because Indian food demands a lot of bathrooms. Or that could be a spurious correlation. I find Indian food delicious regardless.

2.) They have happy hour from noon until 10 pm. That seems more like a happy day to me. And this is everyday. Take that, Wisconsin!

3.) We live in a nice area of town with a Dominos, Papa John's, and Subway (not that that's how you define "good neighborhoods" in the US, but still...) At first glance, it doesn't seem very impressive though and I was a little disappointed admittedly. The thing is, things don't look nice from the outside. They look kind of dumpy really. But then you go inside and the shops are really nice. I kept ending up getting expensive lunches because I would walk in to some non-descript restaurant and then inside it would be really nice. I found a nice foot spa and an art gallery this way, too.

4.) There are a ton of waitstaff at restaurants. I am not kidding. I can only assume this is because of the incredible labor surplus (there are a billion people in this country after all.) Yesterday, I was getting take out and I counted 9 total patrons in the restaurant (8 plus me), and 11 staff (8 waiters and 3 other people.)

5.) I went to McDonalds and had a McSpicy Chicken sandwich. Don't judge me.