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Talking Retro
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There are times when I use expressions that are very much embedded in a particular generational experience. It's a special way of connecting with a person of a certain generatlion, even if you're older or younger.

Not so much with my husband, who never was part of the mainstream. Even though he spent two years in Nam and several years in college, he never seems to have been in touch with the common culture. When he talks, he sounds like his parents, and even then, lacking the common touch, as if his parents, too, were culturally isolated in some way.

We were visiting my tax man, who is the same age as we are (within a few months, actually) and I used the punch line "who, me, white man?" and he got it. He knew the joke behind it. It was a pleasure to connect in that way, even though it's a dumb joke. We then traded other. old jokes and saying and expressions back and forth for about 15 minutes. My husband, poor thing, felt left out and afterwards told me so.

It's sad when someone can't connect via a common cultural background.

In India, on a bus from one village to another, one time I heard a man in the back (men and women sit separately) humming the Jello jingle, of all things. I stood up and said, "There's an American here. Where are you?"

He stood up, dark skin, dressed in a dhoti and white shirt, like all the Indians around him, and moved into the seat next to me (I in my sari and choli). Many scandalized glances in our direction, but we didn't care, so hungry were we for mutual cultural contact after 6 months in the bush. We chattered in American English to each other all the way there, so delighted to have company.

I'll never forget it, because in America we would have considered ourselves so different, we might not have done more than nodded hello. But thanks to the Jello jingle, I made a lifelong friend.

I also felt the same connection with my tax man, and left his office feeling that I had had a great conversation with an old friend, having so much in common generationally.

Live long and prosper.

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