I grew up in a very small town where the houses were about 5 miles apart...and that was close together. It wasn't a farm in the midwest or anything, just one of the small, wooded towns that are mostly protected by the Audobon Society or some other tree hugging association. My parents are "tree huggers" so it's ok for me to joke about that sort of thing...right?
Because I grew up in a wooded bubble, all of the children in my school were white, upper middle class and still had both mom and dad living under the same roof. There were no black kids, hispanic kids or even jewish kids (ok, maybe one or two). Growing up like this, I developed a keen sense for giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and in no way believing in stereotypes, if only because I never witnessed anything to enforce them.
This is all leading up to something, I swear.
I live with two guys, Dennis and Christian. Christian's name is actually spelled with many more K's and Y's because he is EUROPEAN. Now, I have never really been exposed to someone from eastern Europe for anyy extended periods of time (see above) but I was very surprised by how well Christian was settling into his very own stereotype. It's too bad, really. He is stereotype enforcement at its finest. Let me explain.
I don't know where the stereotype of lazy, techno-listening, fast-food eating, couch surfing, slacking, welching off the American tax dollar eastern european came from but I know I heard it somewhere. Maybe it began when Christian was born. Forgive me if I sound like a bigot, or culturally unaware. You can, like I do, blame this all "The Christian Factor." Let me explain.
Christian is in this country because he goes to a fairly expensive private business college. Now, keep in mind that all foreign students have to pay their tuition up front. I know this because a friend of the family happens to work at said private business college...in the finance department. His father is a ship captain. Who knew ship captains make so much money.
He has no job. He goes to school part-time. When he is not in class, his is on the sofa in my living room, completely horizontal. When school is not in session, things get even worse. He spends more time in the living room, on the couch, watching daytime TV and movie channels (Dennis works for a cable company) than he does doing anything else. We're not talking, 60/40 here. Were talking 99/1. He is, in a word...disgusting.
He fries prepared food that has already been fried in hot oil. In short, he eats double-fried food. He goes 4 months without doing laundry while wearing the same exact T-shirt and shorts combination to lie on the couch. You may think I'm exaggerating. I am NOT. He eats pasta out of the pot it was cooked in. He lets the trash overflow. He chain smokes Marlboro Reds. He covers up the smell of his body odor with trashy cologne. He does NOTHING unless I force him to. His record for days indoors without leaving the house is seven. No, I did not stutter.
Not only is he lazy and fat, but he's also stupid and irresponsible. He drinks and drives on a regular basis. I'm not talking "I was a little tipsy and shouldn't have driven but I did anyway." I'm talking "They had to throw me out of the bar because I was vomitting on patrons and now I'm doing to get into the Audi that daddy bought me and go 80 MPH on Storrow Drive" kind of drunk. I was hoping this would catch up with him and result in some sort of accident that would not injure him too seriously (and certainly not anyone else) but that he would get caught and learn his lesson. He is 26 years old, after all. It's time to not be in college anymore.
Well, one night, he did get into an accident. No one was seriously hurt but he managed to TOTAL his Audi. He was very drunk. Then the police showed up. Now, I have a base amount of faith in law enforcement. Actually, let me correct myself. I HAD a base amount of faith in law enforcement.
The police NOT ONLY let him go, but called him a tow truck and waited until Dennis could pick Christian up and take him home...at 4am...on a Wednesday.
I could go on...there will be many other Christian stories to follow. Hang tight...and send me more patience.