American Culture & the Mounties

I think Spring is in the air, and I just found Jake cooking pasta for his girlfriend. Second time today……yep, it must be.

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This is an interesting season in Denver, the brown trees turned green in two weeks, and the bunnies in our back garden multiply, er like rabbits. Heather sits on the grass and they amble around her, as do the squirrels, it’s like a scene from Snow White. Or is it Wizard of Oz? I’m getting old, my memory is deserting me.

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The reason we have rabbits is that the typical American middle class household is obsessed with baby substitutes, sorry, dogs. I can only count one of our neighbours who doesn’t have a canine or three, so the rabbits seek refuge under our decking. The unfortunate by-product of this is that the foxes that tour the area also like our garden, Heather found bits of rabbit strewn about last weekend after we had seen the fox sneaking in late at night, just as we were crawling in from the pub.

Yes, the good news is there are pubs of a sort in Middle America, and the amount of breweries is un-believable. There are supposed to be 175 in the Denver area, and so there is no need to drink Budweiser or similar filth. The only problem is that presumably to differentiate themselves, they make the beer out of some strange things, caramel or wheat I guess are ordinary, but what about “whiskey-soaked pumpkin seeds and orange blossom honey”. Yes, the majority of them taste like………

It might come as a surprise to you my reader (singular), but I am not a patient man. I hate queuing, but the amount of airports I am going through means I have to get used to it. 4 weeks ago visiting New York, I got back to Newark airport an hour and a half before the departure time, plenty of time you would say. But the queues at security were out the front door, apparently someone had shot himself at Houston airport and everyone was freaked, and progress through security just slowed to a crawl.

Americans do get freaked by some things, but ignore others that I would regard as being far more important. An average of 30 people are shot every day across America, which goes completely un-remarked upon, but then what is logically a small incident gets blown out of proportion.

The Aurora “Batman” killer is back making the headlines because he is about to be sentenced for that terrible act, which happened about 8 miles from where I sit right now. The prosecutors are making a big thing of the fact that the gunman walked past two cinemas to perform his deed in the third. Why? Because the first two allow guns in the auditorium and the prosecution are arguing that was a deliberate move to prevent him from being shot back, thereby justifying a death sentence.
Yes, dear Europeans, there are cinemas in America where you can take in a gun.

Anyway, to get back to Newark airport, I wanted to exploit my capitalist right not to queue, so I purchased a priority pass. $60 later, I got through security just in time, only to realise that I had managed to book myself on the only airline in America that doesn’t give you a reserved seat, unless you pay extra. Although a familiar concept for Europeans, thankfully those airlines are but a distant memory to me now.

So I had forgotten to pay for a seat, and they have a bizarre queuing system. You find your position behind a post – C19 is the 19th person in the C queue. Capitalism? I wanted to slit my wrists.

The kids have broken up from school and we are off on that true American tradition, the Road Trip. Jake has a friend joining us on #wardsontour, it’s the California Coastal Highway and then over to Arizona, I suspect some laughs will befall us. I need some laughs the way work has been.

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So far it has been remarkable that I haven’t got an American speeding ticket, unlike my colleague Vrinder who got done in Yellowstone for doing 65 in a 40. And despite a passport photo that makes him look like a terrorist dear boy, they didn’t lock him up. My major incident was being stopped in Calgary by a Mountie. He seemed to think that steering with my knees while taking a picture of the skyline was a mistake. I groveled, he was a real Mountie, what was that TV program?

In the grand tradition of the American Dream, even a 12 year old gets a year book at the end of the year. But unfortunately for poor Ben, they had forgotten to put him in it. I was incensed for him, demanded the phone off the wife, intent on ringing the principal and telling him what I thought of the way they had treated my youngest. Did I say I wasn’t very patient…..now where has Heather hidden the phone?

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