Saturday, 27 February 2010

Americans From Over Here

I'm going to write here what Americans look like to us from far away (but hey - what's "far" in the age of the internet?). I will do so after reading a few times that some people like hearing about our (meaning MY) view or learning of another culture (yeah yeah). I DO NOT MEAN TO INSULT ANYONE, but if you feel offended, please say so and we'll discuss the offensive matter. Besides, all we know about the Americans (most of it, anyway) we know from TV. It's like you made tons of films and series about yourselves and sent it to the rest of the world. If you don't like the picture we have - well, don't complain about the eyes that are looking at it - send the complaint to the artist!

An American family had to have a station wagon. The best ones used to have a broad line of a wood imitation of some kind on the sides. And all the men used to have pick-ups. GAS? They measure it in gallons anyway, so that the number is smaller than it would be here, so... who cares? And if not a station wagon, the car still had to be the size of a smaller boat and the gas stations not too far apart.
Things have changed, of course. The station wagons have evolved into big sedans and the pick-ups into SUV-s. And they must all be very efficient (so that the SUV-s are friendlier to nature, LOL). All sorts of other cars have always co-existed, of course, but strictly divided into those for kids, for girls, for single men and so on. You have to have SOME kind of order so that you know who's who, right?

All kinds of it: chicken burger, hamburger, cheeseburger, tunaburger... a boloney sandwich, pizza, spaghetti.... any of these can be a regular dinner. Sure they actually cook as well (I'm sure many of them are much better cooks than I am) but after scrambled eggs or corn flakes for breakfast (or some cereals with plenty of sugar), a sandwich and an apple for lunch, any of the above can be a meal for the evening.

Holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas - that's a different story altogether. All the recipes passed through generations find their way into freedom to celebrate the death of a giant bird (no, no, I know, it's to express gratitude to be able to survive after that first winter), the stuffings are not stuffings any more, each one can be a dish to be served separately, cranberry sauce is also a must... besides eating too much, this is also a perfect occasion for a mother in law - daughter in law competition.

And what do they do with all that food? Eat it for another month?

This brings me to the next point - sport. Football rules. Thanksgiving is the evening when men watch it on TV restlessly, and the women in the house just have to bear it because it's tradition. Football? How can they call THAT football? The ball hardly touches any of the feet in the field. The men are just huge tackling machines, padded in all possible places so that they don't get hurt (but they still do sometimes). Besides, they just stand there, giving each other some funny signs, then one of them runs for a few metres if lucky (okay okay, yards, then) and then - THEY STOP! And they keep stopping ALL THE TIME! They never just play. It's WAIT - ACTION - STOP! Come on!
Or do they watch baseball on Thanksgiving..., no, I don't think so. Baseball... I won't even go there. If I ever grasped the rules, I might even find it interesting.
Anyway, sport is so important that when an American child takes up a sport, it's all about hard work, struggle, beating the opponent, not losing or (God forbid!) quitting. And there is another reason why I couldn't possibly be a part of an American sports team: I can't imagine myself, sitting in the locker room and the coach giving a very inspirational speech - I would probably remember a film or two (or three hundred) and start laughing loudly. But hey, if it works, it works.

Americans don't care about names much. They give their children names, but then they just use the initials. There are plenty of T.C.-s, C.J.-s, J.R.-s and so on. It's only a good thing that they have a mddle name. Can you imagine those kids only being called T or C or J.? The parents who don't like the initials so much, just call their son Junior or Major or Soldier. Girls not so much. Some parents even use the names altogether. Weird, huh?

OKAY, this is getting WAY too long. And there is so much more! Hope it amuses you! As most of my followers fall into this "category", I will be glad of your feedback. How wrong am I? And turn the mirror into my direction, if you like. I can laugh at myself.



  1. I scrolled down to begin with Part 1 and will proceed to Part 2. You reflect what we portray and it's pretty accurate, Hollywood or no.

  2. P.S. Love the part about the big station wagons with fake wood (I grew up with those. Mom had to have one) and lots of food at Thanksgiving. Yes, we overeat on that holiday like you wouldn't believe and yes, the food lasts about a week.

  3. I wonder how you see us... but we don't have Holiwood... the picture we send around probanly doesn't get seen that often.

  4. I went to West Africa as a college student, and then traveled through some of Europe on the way home, and the first thing I saw coming out of my city airport was a flood of great big honking cars. They did seem as big as boats! But now I have one of those ubiquitous family-sized vans (so common that I'm frequently trying to open the door of someone else's similar blue-green vehicle). But I honestly love it - it's like a little home on wheels. Next up, though (sigh), is something smaller and MUCH more sensible for the gas. The kids are grown up!

  5. Ha ha haaa! what you have portrayed here is perfectly Canadian as well! It's slightly different here in this household as we don't do the big turkey thing at either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and cheeseburgers (tuna burgers, YUCK!) are just a meal for when I can't come up with something better, but otherwise, accurate to a "T". Even down to the name thing, it seems my mother can't remember the names of her 3 oldest girls, so all our lives she's melded all 3 together into something resembling "Kurshmandy"

  6. Thanks, California Girl, Mary Ellen and Skye! I'm glad you kinda like this... More is coming...

  7. Hey Minka, I don't own a car, I don't eat any of those foods and I hate sports. No wonder I don't fit into my American culture!!

  8. Oh ... and there are no initials in my name.

  9. Oh dear! I hope you can live with not fitting? Are you an exeption that makes the rule? Or am I wrong?

    Thanks for stopping by! :)