Sunday, September 03, 2006

on account of america

The air just isn't as good. The food is just too greasy. The trees are all weird looking. And the airport security is so ridiculously tight that you aren't allowed a bottle of water in your carry on bag. Yes my friends, I have indeed reached the land of the free and the home of the brave. But if I had anything to do with it, I would call this country the land of the cheap and the home of the paranoid. And I mean cheap in a good way, because things are cheap here. On the drive back from the Seattle airport I was thinking that, and forgive my ignorance if I'm totally off on this one, America on most accounts excluding topography and people is a culturally drab place to live. I may be speaking out of ignorance and please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that America has no distinctive food (hamburgers chains don’t count), distinctive festivals (sales at malls don’t count and neither does Christmas, its not American), or much that can be called uniquely American...besides basketball jerseys, cheap foreign labor, thanksgiving, and war.

But people here are funny, friendly, and open. I was freaking out today in Safeway because I felt like everyone was staring at me--there are two possibilities for this: 1. Maybe they were trying to read my shirt, it was a completely nonsensical shirt covered in big bold English words that don’t connect or make sense. Perhaps they, in an effort to make heads and tails of my shirt were perplexed and bewildered and thus made eye contact with me as if to say "stealiest of my eyes, why doth thou so beseech mine eyes to look upon such seaming perplexity as this demonstrated by thy apparel?". Or 2: In America maybe its normal for people to look at you in the eyes while your shopping. And maybe its OK not to have to pretend that everyone around you doesn't exist. Shocking. Perhaps even culture shocking to quote the colloquialism.

In any case, I will head north soon to the land that is exactly like here, but has a different flag. I don’t really know why they fly a different flag...or why there’s a border between here an there. Because you know places like Germany and France don’t have a border, its just like passing into another state except the sign says "welcome to Germany" instead of "welcome to Alabama", or vise versa.

7 comments:

Ro said...

yay for bandits! and I'm not in jail. another yay! I don't know when I've been happier about that. i forgot that you've been in Japan all summer. welcome to America... both of them.

Polythene Pam said...

Oh Brent. I wish we could go to Costellos, that lovely little coffee shop, and talk about travelling and the future and God. It would be the perfect day for that. I am sorry that you are culture shocking a bit, I hope it passes just enough but not too much - if you know what I mean. And I agree with your slightly bitter comments, which I don't always so that's something...;-)
I'm going to e-mail you now.

mary said...

welcome to the land of the fat and the lazy car-drivers, blents. i had big-time culture shock the first time i went back to walmart after i arrived in the states again. america is so big. anyhow, i'm glad you made it back safely and through the insanely frustrating security. i share your pain. anyhow, do call sometime and i hope that you have an excellent semester in canada. and i'll see you in seattle sometime, right? ; ) i miss you dear friend.

m.melissa.h said...

so you are slipping back into my side of america afterall!? i'm glad to hear that, cuz lets be honest last year I sucked at being your friend...hopefully this year won't be so lame. welcome to Canada. are you living back by the chickens?!

Janice said...

i suppose it would take a lot more time spent in canada to realize the difference. thank goodness there are some, even if only some people think they matter.

HBryson said...

you are friendly and distinct. you fit fantastically in the northwest. don't be mad.

luke said...

thanks for that cliche account on america.