18 July 2010

Sorry to leave you hanging...

I know, I know. Leaving Lebron-talk up for over a week was probably not the wisest time to take a blogging-hiatus. After all, every where I turn, I am hearing how much people are tired of hearing about hearing about Lebron James (Usually after I ask, "So, what do you think about Lebrong James?" What do we learn from this, class? First, clearly I am not tired of talking about it. Second, I don't pick up on socially cues particularly quickly. Note to self.)

It's not that there haven't been plenty of things to write about. In fact, there have almost been too many things. There we go again, learning more things about me: When confronted with good options, rather than offending the non-selected but deserving choices, I snub all of them. This applies to everything except food. In that case, I make an exception and just pick all of them. You know what I'm talking about. When confronted with a plate of spinach, grapes, raw eggs, and other good-for-you choices, I just down them all. Right.

Anyway, how do you choose between writing about the time that there was a fist-fight two feet away from you on the bus, the time (five minutes after the fight on the bus) when someone started making a speech about Rosa Parks (after this sweet old lady had shouted "Peace BE STILL"), the time you waited for the bus for over an hour only to have it drive by without picking you up and causing you to not be able to sit in the seat in the movie theater that you had already paid a disgraceful ammount of money for, or.....there are others, but they don't involve buses and I am realizing that public transportation might provide my best material. Anyway, you get the point. Lot's of crazy, funny, frustrating, in a word, blog-worthy incidents. Too many to choose from.

And after listing all of those, I think I have realized that I am about to describe the least interesting of them all. Oh well, I am committed at this point.

So back in Oxford, I was talking to this girl who had lived in the UK for over 5 years (she was from the US) and considered herself British (essentially. It was a long and un-interesting conversation). She described in great detail how she just fit-in better in England and that the people just made more sense to her. Needless to say, I askd her about this. After all, the English make LITTLE sense to me, so this just didn't seem logical. And I am not sure that I fit in particularly well with all parts of the American ideology and even I felt like this was a ridiculous statement. Furthermore, who SAYS that?!

She then launched into this big tirade about how her mom has an American flag bumper sticker on her car and how Americans fly flags all the time and feel this need to assert their American-ness. I think she even talked about the resurgence in flag-flying and patriotism after September 11th, and how she just couldn't understand this mentality. (Let's pause here to note that flag-flying seems like a pretty silly metric to use to determine if you are ideologically similar to a given nation.) I think I argued with her. (Yes, I know. Most of you who are reading this are not surprised by this revelation. But you should know that in the UK I mastered a new technique: Say "Hmmm, ok. Interesting. Yes. Tell me more about that", all the while thinking "Wrong." or "You have no idea what you are talking about." or "I have no idea what you are talking about." or "You are a lunatic.". But here, I argued. I must have been feeling particularly patriotic on this day. If I had been better prepared, I would have pulled an American flag out of my pocket. Unfortunately, I had none.

Well, seeing as how I moved to the nation's capitol a few days after the fourth of July, I found myself reflecting on this experience a few days after arriving. You see, I was walking up this huge hill (I think I had gone for a run, but the huge disadvantage of living on the top of a hill--which I do--is that you always have to finish your run uphill. Sure, you start your run downhill, but at that point, you are not tired. And furthermore, these are "slow down so you don't fall down" hills, so you really don't get the advantage. I think this stinks. So I walk up the hill at the end.). Anyway...I was walking up this huge hill, and I notied that every doorway had a flag flying next to it. And then I noticed that every yard had four or five flags (baby ones) lining the sidewalk. It looked like a flag pinata had been broken over the neighborhood. They were everywhere. I laughed to myself when I thought about the ex-pat from Oxford who would be puzzled by these peoples' over-patriotism. I thought of something that she said about Americans' (apparent) need to assert their Americanis "as if they or other people are going to forget". This seemed especially funny to me as the Capitol building, the mall, and all the monuments are a short bus-ride away.

And then I thought, I wonder if other people come here and feel the need to assert their allegiance to their country. Seriously. I thought that. And because I am intuitive like that, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, "Who cares? That's not funny." You are right.

But then, I got to the top of the hill. And just as I crested the hill--I kid you not--I saw a couple my parents age and what appeared to be an adult son. And they were German. I know this because the son had a shirt with a German flag and hat on it and was carrying a German flag. Oh, and the mother had glittering Germany necklaces, black, red, and gold all over, and more flags. And I knew they were German because somebody wasn't wearing deodorant. Oh wait, that is just how I knew they were European. (Ok, actually, that stereotype is not true. And it should be said that Germans are my favorite people on the planet. Seriously, its true. Them and Turks. And Greeks.)

I found out later that Germany had played in the World Cup that day, so it wasn't entirely random. But still. Crazy.

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