Have you seen the Disney movie Tangled? You know, how the main character is a little too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to feel real? She is a girl who has lived locked in a tower her entire life and so everything and anything she knows about the world is through a few books and her wicked non-mother. The result is a naive girl with a lot of courage and spunk but no idea about how the real world works.
Take away the tower and the wicked non-mother, the bushy-tails and bright-eyes and for some reason, you end up with me.
Yesterday, I attended church in Richmond. The bishop spoke and highlighted some of his goals for the ward: (1) Spiritual nourishment and (2) A positive social environment where (and I quote) "you don't have to worry about having a roofie slipped in your drink." I turned to my roommate and quietly whispered, "What is a roofie?" She turned to look at me straight on, obvious amazement in her eyes. "You're really naive, aren't you?"
I nodded. Yes, I am naive. That was the second time this weekend that I was made blatantly aware of the fact. On Saturday, I attended a party that one friend from my acapella group invited me to. It turns out, the party was small and everyone already knew each other fairly well (by fairly well, I mean they finished each other's sentences and related each other's life stories). It was a fun night complete with Candyland, Uno and a round of Pictionary. However, Pictionary was a nice wake-up call to how un-American I sometimes am. I had no idea what/who a "Snooki of Jersey Shore" was. When it was my turn, I pulled out a piece of paper that read, "Flavor Flav" and I had pretty much no idea what that meant. (Vague idea that it had to do with music) The others took pity on me and let me choose another one, "Stuey of Family Guy" (it was actually misspelled). Although I had heard of it this time, I was ignorant enough not to be able to draw anything that looked like the show at all. (I drew a family and a guy and a bowl of stew).
As my roommate and I discussed later that a "roofie" was a date rape drug, she and I talked a little about the possible reasons why I was so naive. I'm not a person who lives in a box. I read and try to keep up on current events and politics. I participate in a lot of community groups outside of my church, including an acapella group, intramural soccer, and the International Center. So why?
We decided it was because I don't consume a lot of American media.
I don't watch a lot of movies (too expensive in theaters and our movie projector in our house is not the best).
I don't watch a lot of TV (no TV at home and no cable which my sister just informed me is how anyone watches TV these days).
I don't listen to a lot of American music
And I never keep up on people in Hollywood (although apparently I have a lot to say about a select number of Germans, Koreans, Japanese and Chinese).
The movies I do watch, the TV I do watch and the music I listen to is usually motivated by the people in my life either introducing it to me or providing some great discussion and conversation.
The result is a girl who really doesn't get pretty much any reference to anything. Feeling embarrassed on Saturday, I tried to explain myself:
Me: I'm sorry. I don't know a lot about American culture because <insert really awkward reason here - I don't remember it but I might have said something about my background or where I come from>.
Girl: That's ok. I've lived here my whole life and I don't know a lot about American culture either.
Me: Lived here?
Girl: In America.
Me: Oh, I've lived in America my whole life too.
Yep. The story of my life.