Americans, they are all just so...AMERICAN.


The Great American Adventure.

We are fresh back from a trip to the states, a trip that we had talked about for a very long time (10 years is a long time to be planning an event, by any measure) and now, all too soon, it is over.

We got remarried in Vegas, saw some nice stuff, spoke to people about my book, and was heartened as to how well it was received.

I won’t bang on with the whole itinerary, but just know that in the 3.5 weeks we were there we saw a sizable chunk of the country.

Not all of it.

Not most of it.

Just a sizable chunk.

Thought I’d clarify that in case any of my US fans felt the need to weigh in with assertions that one CAN’T see all of America in 3.5 weeks.

I agree, hence keeping my estimate at “A sizable chunk”.

Enough of the geographical semantics. I’ll get to the point.

Which is:



I loved America. Unashamedly. Without agenda. LOVED our time in the states. (Or at least the ones we saw)

I went expecting to like the place. I felt like I knew it, kind of.

Like it or not the American culture has been beamed through to us for years – from the Flintstones to the Fresh Prince, as far as the Wire, and side orders of Grey’s Anatomy.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been inundated, so going there had a familiar feel to it.

What I didn’t expect was to love the place.

“Americans, they’re all just  so… American.”

Yes, yes they are.

It is pretty easy to swing a bat at America and its citizens. Primarily due to the concept of inundation mentioned above.

We feel like we know them, understand them somehow.

It’s akin to peeking into a family photo album every day – squinting at bunch of second cousins who live in another part of the world, all of whom you never see.

Still, intellectually, you feel related, and as a result feel the right to pass judgement on their lives…

…even without setting foot in their house, or even (in many cases) having actually met them.

I’ve met with some resistance previously when bold enough to say “All the Americans I have met have been pretty nice, on balance.”

Generally the response – often fuelled by beer/chardonnay and delivered with a desire to pump up the home country of the speaker to the detriment of the States -  would be something along the lines of: “Yes, but all the Americans you have met have been outside America, they’ve travelled. They KNOW what they perceived to be.”

A comment I couldn’t ever get a handle on.

I am very big on processing real experience, rather than reprocessing the experience of others,and, as mentioned, my experience with American folk has been a pretty positive one, generally.

Sure, I have met some dick-heads, but that is just the law of averages. Meet enough people and you are certainly going to find some that you don’t click with, and some you will outright dislike.

Dick-headedness, though, isn’t confined to the States. My own countrymen and women have a pretty good handle on the ways and means of phallic-skulled behaviour – whether they are travelling or at home.
Again, not all. Just some.

The same could be said for any country/continent/planet (although the absence of data from extra-terrestrial folk leaves the last part of the example open to scrutiny.)

Me? I prefer to generalise in the positive.

Everywhere we went we were met with open arms and a real desire to get to know us, and help us with information about what we might like to do next while visiting the state/town/street/coffee-shop we found ourselves in.

Complete strangers would ask us how we were, and were interested in the response.

People were happy to pass time with a couple of strangers they would likely never see again, and yet their time wasn't so precious that they couldn't share some with us.

There is an honesty, at a personal level, from the Americans that we met that was refreshing, and uplifting, and one I will gladly get up and argue about the next time I find myself at a dinner party with someone about to launch into the “Trouble with Americans is…” tirade.

The trouble with America is not politics, nor religion, nor guns, it is that people grab a sound bite and run with it.

The trouble with America is that while just about everyone has seen it, not everyone has been there.




Andrew Webber is an Author living in the Middle East, who is at this moment getting over thanksgiving food-coma.

8 comments:

  1. I'm still going to be very disappointed if you two don't make it back to Memphis in the future! There are many more BBQ joints to try! Next time, maybe you can coordinate travel to coincide with the Music Fest for Memphis in May (check google for the lineup THIS year! WoW!) .. and if you go back to New Orleans, call me. YOU can show ME around since I've never made it there! - RG

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  2. I will be MORE disappointed if we don't get back there.

    Second to the folks we met was the sheer magnitude and access to music, so a music-fest would be high on the list.

    You haven't been to New Orleans?
    There ought to be a law about that.
    "Amendment: All citizens must go to New Orleans at least once."
    "Sub amendment: All citizens who live within a 6 hour drive have an obligation to do so"

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  3. Couldn't agree with you more.
    I too am in love with the States.
    The biggest mistake that the non believers make is forming an opinion without the knowledge. I have often asked the haters. Have you been there? Only to receive the answer.Oh l wouldn't waste my time. Big mistake. Over the years l have been lucky enough to make it there many times. Also getting married in Vegas. Hired a Thunderbird and had the ceremony performed at the "Little White Wedding Chapel" Great fun. In fact my own Thunderbird in Australia l bought from a Californian that I still see. After travelling 80 or 90'ks around the US l am still looking forward to our next visit. Sure they are naive about the world about them but they have such a fabulous range of options in their own backyard.
    Anyway l agree with you. Funny we have the same surname. It is not all that common with two b's

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  4. Glad that you agree.
    Well done on the whole Little White Chapel thing, we did the same to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

    TOO much fun.

    Re: the same surname.
    And isn't it interesting that neither of us had an issue with people spelling our name with 2 b's until that damn BBQ hit the market...

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  5. Helloooo darlin'! I'm going to assume that you didn't make your way to Texas since I didn't get a call while you were in the states. It's a shame now that you'll have to wait another 10 years until you're graced with my presence. :)

    All kidding aside... stay in touch! I'm off to buy your book on Kindle now...

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  6. We wanted to go to Texas (have friends there, not including you) BUT America is huge, and we had to limit ourselves somehow.

    You won't have to wait 10 years, I'm fixing on a book tour, and Texas will definitely be on it.

    Hope you enjoy the book, I'll sign your kindle if you show up to any of the tour dates!

    :-)

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  7. On behalf of all Americans, (and yes, I AM their self-appointed spokesperson) -- THANKS! Glad to know you enjoyed our country and our citizens! Checking out your website and your writing -- excellent. Thanks for visiting mine. I love your brilliant recycling use for departed taxidermied spouses -- the carpool lane -- BRILLIANT!!

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    Replies
    1. Hey! Thanks for stopping by - and well done on taking on the mantle of official spokesperson.

      Tough gig, but someone has to do it.

      And when that someone is in favour of what I do, I can only conclude that the right person has the job.

      I am happy to supply references should you wish to take on the role of spokesperson for any additional countries.

      I believe outer-west Uzbekistan is in need of some vocal representation...

      heh heh.

      Looking forward to more posts over there on http://www.sothenstories.com/

      Delete

A.T.H Webber.
Award winning writer of "Erasure".
Unorthodox thinker.
Coffee snob.

Erasure.
Runner up prizewinner:"The Montegrappa Writing Prize"
Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature, 2016.
Quarter finalist: ABNA prize, 2014.





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