My third month in this crazy country is underway and I’m about to embark on a road trip that will take me further south and west than I have ever been before in a car. I’m looking forward to lots of new fun facts and observations but until then, here are a few things that have caught my eye and tickled my fancy in the past month.
- I always thought that barbecue was a word meaning something you do to meat outside on a summery evening with a cold glass of chardonnay or it’s the piece of equipment that you need to do that, i.e “At the beginning of summer the worst job in the world is cleaning the barbecue so we can have a barbecue.” In America, it seems that you have a cook out instead of a barbecue and instead of having sushi or pizza for dinner, you have barbecue. It’s very confusing.
- And then there’s broiling and broasting. I’ve googled them both and I’m none the wiser.
- Last week I spent the best part of a day driving diagonally across the state of Virgina (interesting fact: it’s named after Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen) It was a long drive made longer because I chose the scenic route along the Blue Ridge Parkway which demands regular stops for taking photographs that you just know are going to look disappointing because the view is just too big. Anyway, after driving on some devilishly narrow and twisty roads and some crowded and frightening highways I have concluded that drivers in America are courteous, respectful and rule abiding. Even the pods of Harley Davidson’s stuck well within the speed limit. The enormous trucks play overtaking games with each other on the interstates are another story.
- I do have a gripe about speed limits. Not the limit itself but how quickly and often it changes. It’s a full time job keeping up but thankfully the other drivers are too polite to use their horns if you get it wrong. They are also patient when they find themselves behind someone like me who is still getting used to the turn on a red light rule.
- I have discovered public radio and it’s wonderful. Intelligent debate, articulate hosts, interesting topics, some are even unrelated to Donald Trump.
- Talking of news, I never realised how much work is it to stay informed. First you have to know the biases of each news source and then you have to listen to more than one to get a balanced view. It’s a full time job.
- Taking home left overs in a styrene box is so common that even asking for one for half a chocolate brownie doesn’t raise an eyebrow. No more mashed up crumbs in a paper napkin for me.
- TV dinners. Calorie counted, ready in minutes, portion controlled, no washing up. What’s not to like?
- I’ve spent a bit of time in the wild outdoors of Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina and have marvelled at how easy it is to leave people and buildings behind. It’s also easy to get lost because the signposts are not always where you want/need them to be and the maps are hand drawn and useless.
- Farting into everyone’s ears is a thing. This is how Liz Gilbert of Eat, Pray,Love fame describes people who talk loudly on a cellphone in a public place. It happens all the time.
- Carpenter bees are also a thing and they are extremely gregarious. They bumble around in threes or fours, thumping into windows and scaring Ginny the dog and me.
- It has been amusing to see how long it has taken to adjust to light switches that go up for on instead of down.
Categories: An American Adventure