Saturday, December 10, 2005

Sound bound

This time tomorrow, we'll be touching down in Seattle. Although I know the flight will be nine hours of sheer hell, complete with crying babies, teeth-cracking turbulence and food resembling radioactive waste, I don't care. I'm going home!!

Although, I don't know if I deserve to call it home anymore after abysmally failing my foreign flatmate's American test the other night. She's going to visit the States for the first time this summer, so on the way home from a Christmas party, she asked me a few questions. The conversation went something like this:

"So, is Los Angeles safer than New York?"

Me: ", that's a good question..." (frantic mental review of old news headlines) "I think, um, I mean, nowhere's really completely 'unsafe.' It all depends on how well you know the area..."

"What city is the best for shopping"

"..." (realization that I know nothing about shopping) "Ah, shopping. Do you mean, 'shopping' like clothes shopping? Or something else?"

"I just want to find somewhere that sells Garfield. I love Garfield!"

"Oh yeah. Garfield. Well, I think you can probably buy that anywhere..."

"And I want to find things that say 'made in America.' Everything's made where I live, and I get so disappointed. Why did I even leave?"

"Yeah, made in America..." (hating self for participating in this conversation. Had really thought she'd ask about landmarks, or food, or maybe museums...shit.) "You'll probably have to look for independent designers. But they don't even sell that stuff half the time. There is a chain called American Apparel, and they do sell things made in the US - but they're also run by a guy who appears to be a total perv, so..." (trailing off as I realize I've just managed to confuse her even more)

"So what about Stanford? Is Stanford safer than Princeton?"

"Well, it isn't cheaper! Hah hah...ha..." (suddenly decide that I need to go across the street to the nearest convenience store, where I could feasibly hide behind the upright freezers until she gives up and goes home)

So I know nothing about the country, at least nothing that anyone actually wants to learn. I also managed to get into a verbal shouting match with some uppity Irish guy last night who thought he knew more about Americans than I did, despite the fact that I AM an American and that he's been to the country once to visit somewhere like freaking Bismark, North Dakota, which hardly counts as an emblematic slice of Americana.

Anyway, uppity Irish boy decides that he can declare, with much waving of hands and sloshing of beer, that "All Americans are ignorant! Y'know wot I mean? No offense, but you just don't seem like well educated people."

I resisted the urge to ignorantly forget the laws of gravity and pour my pint in his lap. He proceeded to lecture me about Irish history, despite the fact that I'd told him, oh, a half dozen times, that I was Irish American and knew my facts fairly well..."We had a revolution, you know," he said. "Nooo," I gasped. "Did you really? And you lost, I take it?" Bad me. Bad.

At least the guy managed to insult everyone, telling my Scottish bud that Scotland wasn't a real country anyway, and being English or Scottish was the "same thing." Hell hath no fury like a Scotswoman scorned...

Before I can cause any international incidents, it's best for me to see the Northwest again. The internet service at home is still predictably tortoise-like, so I probably won't get to post until we're at my husband's house in Wenatchee next week. I promise lots of long-overdue pictures at that point.

Not much else to report here now. My entertainment value will skyrocket after a few days around friends and family. Hoorah! Seattle, here we come!!!

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