I am fortunate to have been able to meet lots of Americans. However, the poor things get a right old grilling from me – I want to know everything.
So, here’s a list of things I have found out:
Halloween and how it’s really done
This is big. It’s not just a few spotty teenagers knocking at your door demanding some sweets and a bit of money and asking ‘is that all?’ when you hand over a miniature Milky Way like in the UK.
Here, there are pumpkins and lights, and candy bowls left on the doorstep for trick or treaters, who take the candy with honesty and leave some for others. The costumes aren’t just ghosts and vampires and mummies – there are cheerleaders and cowboys and chickens. Today I saw a garden with inflatable ghosts and a life-size carriage with a headless driver and zombies falling out of it, blood dripping and eyes popping out. It was exceptionally realistic! I expect it now to be highly entertaining on the evening of 31 October.
Spring / Summer Break
We’ve seen the movies – the kids finish school, they head to the coast and they get drunk and have fun and probably lose their virginity. Well, it’s pretty much as in the movies, I am led to believe.
I am reliably informed that many Americans thought George Bush was a gibbering idiot. Phew.
The age for drinking alcohol here is 21. Too old, said my American friends. It’s an age-old debate what age is the right age for drinking whether it’s 14, 18 or 21. The kids are still going to try to alcohol, drink it under a boardwalk (USA) or in a bus shelter (UK), act foolish, be sick, and do it again regardless.
I want to go to a Hicksville place and see people with no teeth wearing dungarees. Apparently there is a bar in a Hicksville town in the Blue Ridge Mountains which asks you to deposit your guns before entering. Fascinating.
Today I thought the woods behind our house were on fire. It was just the endless sound of dry falling leaves. You had to be there, but it was kind of brilliant.
Social Security Office
I went to get my work visa today. I got told it was a slummy office. It wasn’t too bad, all said and done. I didn’t join the food or welfare queue, but it was an interesting demographic in that waiting room as I sat in the work visa queue. What really got me was the sign outside. In the UK our signs would read “no dogs, except guide dogs” or “no chewing gum” or “no mobile phones”. This one read “NO GUNS” with two explicit pictures of a hand gun and a rifle crossed out. Yikes…..