Today is my first day back in the USA. I have an eye appointment at Walmart. I need to get new contact lenses. I love Argentina, but we just don't get all the contact lenses that you can get in the US and to put it bluntly, I can't see that well. Some days I feel like Mr. Magoo.
I get up out of my Princess sized bed. I am still in awe of American technology. American washer and dryers are not like Argentine washer and dryers. There is a garbage disposal in this house. I can put toilet paper in the toilet. I feel like a tourist. Everything is big.
My friend drives me to Walmart. Target is across the street. I have an appointment at 10:00 am. I walk into the vision area. I have never felt so small in my life. I tell the receptionist I have an appointment for an eye exam. I decline the 500 extra exams. The truth is I hate paying for this exam. I get everything in my obra social in Argentina. Even though my eye exams there are very thorough the good old USA likes to think that in the 3rd world my prescription is actually done by an uneducated monkey.
When Dr. Puffy comes out from helping a patient his eyes land on me. Blondie. Boring. Of course in the USA you must be politically correct. His receptionist tells him I am in for the eye exam, that the other two are here for quick check ups. He tells her he will see me first. She starts to object. He gives her a "look". Never underestimate the power of a blond. Even in politically correct USA. She glares at me.
I go into to see Dr. Puffy. He falls all over himself. Even in my cheap Carrefour jeans bought in Bogota and an old Target shirt, I am more glamorous that the average woman that shops here in Walmart. I realized this on my short walk to the the "WalMart Vision Center." Five years in Latin America has had an effect on me.
I explain to Dr. Puffy that I live in Argentina. That I am here because I need new contact lenses. That I know my lenses are not exactly correct. That I believe that the US has many more lenses and I think I can have a better fit here because of this. He tells me I speak very good English. I tell him that I am American. "Oh yes," he says, "Oh course you are."
I explain to him what kinds of lenses I have had and he immediately starts to tell me that the doctors there are not able to do the same same things "technologically". I ask him if has heard of a certain ophthalmologist. He tells me no. I tell him this ophthalmologist is Argentine and developed technology that he sold to Bausch and Lomb that they use in their lasers for surgery. He travels all over teaching doctors how to do laser eye surgery. "That is an opthalmologist." he tells me. "They don't fit contacts. They only do surgery." I say nothing.
"What kind of work do you do?" he asks me, but before I can answer he asks me if I use a computer, before I can answer this he asks if I do a lot of reading in my work. I realize how much my life has changed. I don't like this kind of person. I say to him "Well, my life is not like that." Before I finish he says to me "Oh, people in Argentina don't work." Yeah something like that, you know, we are in the 3rd world. I think. "Do you drive?" he asks me. I tell him no. "Oh so people in Argentina don't drive either." The old me would have let him have it. I just let him look at my face. This is the man responsible for my eyes. I say nothing.
"I don't drive" I say to him, "because Buenos Aires has an incredible mass transit system. I don't need to drive." I continue, I need to use a computer to write, I need to see distances in my work as a guide, and I need to read as a teacher. I want to be able to see well. I am not married to any type of lense or brand, but I want to see well." I think Dr. Puffy is humbled.
The rest of the exam is just an exam and he recommends some lenses for me to try. I try to get it through to him that I am only here until Tuesday. I do not have a month to try lenses out. I don't think he understands that Argentina is not like another state away.
With my new lenses in I decide to go investigate Walmart. I was never a Walmart person. I have been a loyal Target person. In fact this blog is being written on my new netbook purchased online from Target. Even before I got here, I had a bunch of stuff sent from Target. I LOVE Target.
I walk down an aisle. I am blown away. Who thinks up this stuff. I spend 30 minutes looking at makeup. I buy my Covergirl eye pencils. Yes! My Loreal mascara - $13 in Buenos Aires (Thank you Christina for making it so expensive) and only $5 in Walmart. My favorite color lipsticks never to be found in Buenos Aires for $20 are now $5! I think I am going to die.
They have these amazing throw away toothbrush things that are so cute. I buy a six pack. Pepto Bismal. Thera-Flu. YES! I love Secret deodorant. But really, there are 3 shelves of it. I wonder if I bought the right one. Americans are amazing. They have so much stuff. I cannot believe I used to be like this.
I go across the street to Petco. I buy Maximiliana a new collar and tons of snacks. She is the most spoiled dog on two continents. I look at all the stuff you can buy dogs. Aisles and aisles. Hard to believe. I walk from store to store. I spend hours looking at nothing. My friend comes to get me. It is time for lunch.
She can't believe that I have not made it to Target yet. She is not a shopper, plus she doesn't understand. I have not been here in 4 years. I want to look at everything. There is so much to look at. Not necessarily to buy. Just things. Things that will never make it to Argentina. When I left Arm and Hammer made baking soda. Now they make tooth brushes? Ones with batteries yet.
We eat lunch in a Thai restaurant. I am overwhelmed again. More choices. I cannot make up my mind. I have to. Pad Thai. That is easy. Some rolls. Easy again. Good flavors. Different. I am happy to have the choices.
Back to shopping. I think I am the only person in this area who walks. It is raining. Well misting. It doesn't stop me from going from store to store. I buy a pair of Avias. Heaven. Swiss K9. A beautiful jump suit. From store to store looking and trying on things.
And I have still not made it to Target.