You have no idea how big the cultural disconnect is

Nor do I. I don’t know anything about what it is like to be Iraqi. But this post should give some indication of why it is so hard for us to understand each other. Excerpt:

The other day I finally managed to meet George. He is a man of 57 years old from the USA. I have heard about him from a colleague who praised him as “different from the rest”. So we have invited him to a late lunch around 3 pm — in our timing this is quite normal lunch.

[…] George, who works for a contracting company, said he was American but from “back east”! Which was quite puzzling. And when I enquired about “back east” he said most Americans are proud of their east coast origin. He says that long ago he’s “moved out west” and got married and then got an ugly divorce.

He later settled in California and bought himself a house and remarried. When I asked him about his family and relatives he was taken aback a bit. He said some stayed home (he meant back east) and others “moved around somewhere”! And as George carried on I realized that he always refers to people he knows as “some one I ran into” or “some one I used to know” or “that guy I met”!! And I wondered did he ever have a real friend?

[…] As time progressed I realized that I just could not figure him out. There is this man who is American but from back east. Moved out west and got an ugly divorce. His family moved around somewhere and his friends are either people he ran into or he used to know!! […] When the Iraqi tea was served I began to sympathize with George. It must be hard living like that, and I honestly was looking for ways to make him talk about some nice things that he has done in his life. And when I asked him what does he do when he wants to relax he said he would “get away from it all” and leaves his wife at home and “travels up north” with his dog to fish in a lake by the name of Tahoe. And when I asked him why go there all alone he said so he could have a piece of mind! Which it turned out to be even sadder and it felt so creepy.