One of the biggest changes in the life style in America, by comparison with the UK, is the rampant consumerism. Planning is a bit more under control in Colorado, in most American states strip malls are everywhere, whereas here there are just shopping centres every 10 miles or so.
But I have to admit I have occasionally succumbed to the shopping bug that runs at full pelt in this country. I wandered in to my favourite shirt shop, Lucky Brands at Park Meadows, a long 10 minute drive away, and purchased a most lovely shirt. Getting back home, I showed it to Heather, and told her how great I thought it was. Yep, she said, it is exactly the same as one in your closet (actually she said wardrobe). What an idiot.
It is astoundingly dry here, static is an issue at a mile high, not what my dear English friends want to hear, but the weather here is fantastic. We have had 4 weeks at below zero, but for the last few days it has reached 20 degrees C. Strange lumps of snow linger in the corners of the garden, and fountains are still partially frozen, I guess that shows how deep the freeze was. But most of the time the sun shone, so it didn’t feel so bad, and it just never rains, amazingly in 4 months here it has only rained once (for less than 10 minutes).
The climate plays terrible tricks in other ways. I bought a Xmas tree the first weekend of December, Ben was feeling down, so we went and bought it to cheer him up. But within 2 weeks it was dead, dried out, kaput. We had an artificial tree for Xmas.
The Xmas lights round here were astounding, they competed for trophies in the local media. The house over the road had two deer made out of lights on their front lawn, but one night someone mounted one on top of the grazing one. We all laughed, but perhaps this is not in tune with the average middle America sense of humour.
Our pathetic attempt at lights was probably the joke of the street, but everyone is far too polite to comment. But it did make us think of the Deddington tree again, yep, I learnt a lot of my decorating abilities from last year in the square.
Last weekend was our Jake’s 17th birthday, not one of the great events in a growing lad’s life, but one well worth celebrating. Izzie bought him a lovely American flag based tie, the best the “thrift store” had to offer, and his mother and I helped him buy an amplifier so he can form a band, become a superstar, change the world and enable me to retire. At last.
We had a busy birthday weekend, we had some Americans round, and some mad Aussies. Good fun, and on Sunday we went up to see Red Rocks, a great concert venue, we look forward to seeing Justin Beiber in the summer. And then on we went to The Fort, a local restaurant based on old western cuisine, but please bear in mind that old is 1860 around here, there was no-one here before that.
And the great news is that the birthday regime from Pizza Express in Banbury lives on, they banged a drum, the mad local bloke dressed as a “First Nation Citizen” produced the hat, and there was Jake in the Buffalo head being told………Gryffindor!
The clientele were instructed to join in 3 times….Hip Hip Hazaa, but no-one can explain this strange choice of words. The buffalo steaks were great, but a poor substitute for Ben who had set his heart on Rattlesnake only to find they are currently hibernating and therefore not for catching (or eating).
Who says culture doesn’t cross the globe. Earlier in the weekend we had been subjected to 2 renditions of “Happy Bar Mitzvah to You” from an adjacent table. And the local Synagogue is offering “Jew Chew” to the high school kids at lunch time.
So life here is all a bit of a shock. Think I will have to do something about the nylon carpets and the “Joey” sofa, something you do have to see to believe, imagine a 7 piece corner piece with individual controlled progression from Economy to First Class, but how will I ever get it home to England?
Think I need to put a damper on the electric side of life. At least that what Heather says. Poor me.
I don`t think it is accurate at all to say that America runs on crazy consumerism. I think it is more accurate to say that what Americans do, they do full force and full heartedly. So, if you know a lot of people who enjoy shopping, they must be extreme and shop constantly. If you know people that enjoy sports, they must be extreme and have nothing beyond sports in their lives. This is only true of the cities, of course, and it must also be taken into account that a well rounded person is very valued here in the States, and we expect everyone to be obsessed about some talent, some sport, and some part of socializing.
Though I will say, consumerism is a BIG thing in the West, as they don`t have as much infrastructure and theaters and such as we have in the East. The interesting people in Colorado, in particular, focus much more on sports and being actuve than shopping. So maybe you haven`t found any true Coloradoians yet…
Yes, I agree that sport is a bigger thing in Colorado than most places in the US. And shopping is probably a less significant pastime here than many parts of the states, but it is certainly a more significant issue than in Europe. There are far more shops, but it must be said that everything is cheaper here, and the level of service is significantly better than Europe. We love it here, and it is a much relaxed society than many parts of America. Thanks for your comment.
Thank you for the post! I`ve heard feedback on the country from all kinds of visitors and immigrants, but this is the first time I`ve heard from an ex-European.
That is a really good tip especially to those new to the
blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Many
thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!