On reflection...

by tosca on Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's impossible, either in writing or speech, to convey the many impressions, thoughts, ideas etc. that I gained during my (just short of) 3 weeks Stateside. And it'd be crazy for me to assume I ever could...but I did jot down a few notes if I remembered to, and one thing that tops the list is PRIVACY - or lack thereof.

PRIVACY - it's insane and an awful generalisation but the Americans I met who were very friendly, and in New Orleans they all are, in Memphis not so much (they weren't horrid, they just weren't as open as New Orleaninians) the 'term' privacy was not much more than a word. They were quite happy to tell all and sundry about their day, their family, their son/daughter or husband/wife or brother/sister or mother/father. They were also quite happy to hold extremely personal conversations on their mobile phone in enclosed spaces (such as on the Amtrak). In the space of one hour I overheard: a woman crying on the phone to her mother after her son upset her; another woman talking to her cousin about how she had to come back to raise the siblings she thought she'd left behind forever; a couple discussing whether or not they would have enough money to get through the week; a young girl blithely stating to one of two boyfriends (she discussed that freely with both of them, too, the fact that they were one of two LOL) that she definitely didn't have enough money for a hotel room but it'd work out somehow; another young lass talking about how she had to catch the train into New Orleans each week because she couldn't find work anywhere in Memphis; a young man earnestly discussing why he felt his relationship wasn't working with his girlfriend; another young man talking to his parole officer about job opportunities...the list goes on and on. But it's done in such an engaging fashion that the most you can do is think loudly in your head about something else and look like you're not actively listening, even though you unconsciously do. You can't help it! And they also think nothing of turning that insatiable curiosity on you - err or me, rather. They wanna know why you have an accent, where are you from, what do you do, are you married, why not, do you got kids, why not, don't you like children (in a tone that suggests there's something wrong with you if you don't and they'll have no problem letting you know they think that LOL) etc. But it's so engagingly done you answer it all and then realise what happened LOL

ADS - what is with the ads?! A number of them caught my eye for the strangest of reasons. I've got a bunch of ads here for a variety of reasons (humour, weirdness appeal, health warnings that make you sit up and go WTF? and other stuff) so kick back and enjoy. Quilted Northern ad with the tagline '...a luxurious experience you can see and feel.' Guess what they were advertising - quilted toilet paper. For real and you can check it out for yourself. Umm if you're not delighted you can get your money back. Which part of you is meant to be delighted?!? Then there's the Blackberry butt dialing ad - heh it's funny. Just one comment! Why doesn't he lock his Blackberry Pearl? I've got one and I lock it (not that my butt tries ringing anyone because I don't keep it in a back pocket D'OH). Ok another comment! Blackberry's gone FLIP? Why? I love that they weren't! Another ad is the T-Mobile MyFaves ad with the single dating dad - with kids like that who needs enemies geez LOL The Free Credit Report ads are especially hilarious and my pick is the Dream Girl one. Umm he'd be a happy bachelor if he'd had just checked her credit before marrying his dream girl. Uh-huh. Pull the other one. You can view ALL of the Free Credit Report ads if you want. The Talk To Your Kids About Sex PSA (public service announcement) is gave me that ohmygod-I-never-want-to-discuss-this-topic-with-any-kid-let-alone-my-own-please-god-never feeling when it asks parents to be upfront about sexual discussion with their kids because it can't be taught in schools anymore. But I liked this ad better because no matter how old my nehpews/niece get they're always going to be our puddinheads LOL (hopefully without coming to me for the sex talk bah humbug). I found the Online Booty Call ad rather...odd. And disturbing but judge for yourself. Although I was quite glad that ad didn't play as much as the e-Harmony ad but even that made me wonder what the obsession is with settling down and why they had to hammer their point home in every commercial break. Bleah. I thought the Denis Leary ad for Rescue Me was funny (esp the bit where the clumsy guy falls over but I like slapstick comedy) with the giant firefighters but damned if I can find a version of it (prob not looking properly ack). A couple of medical alert ads I found uhh strange: Lyrica and PDD/SJS but can't find nothing for them either *sigh*. Nevermind.

PHONES - cellphones are everywhere here. Maybe it's because it's such a huge country that I noticed it more than usual. I also noticed that in general the cellphones of choice were, predominantly, Blackberry (various versions but not many Pearls) and the iPhone. Huh. And all the phones over there seem so much bigger than ours here! The Blackberrys were gimongous - ok prob not that big but they seemed it. And I gotta say, I'm seriously looking at flicking the Pearl and maybe going for a 8707 or an 8310 or even an 8800. Or I could be a total spaz and just get mine in a diff colour like red or white (why oh why don't they do interchangeable faceplates??). Oh and yes, believe me, for a total of 2 mins and 13 seconds I did briefly contemplate switching to an iPhone *gasps* Shock! Horror! Heh

PICKUPS - yeah, trucks everywhere! And they're huge!

MUSTANGS - my dream car is a 1964 or 1966 Ford Mustang convertible in cherry red and, while I saw a heapload of mustangs in and around New Orleans (esp in the French Quarter) most of them were 2005 or newer. Wow. I still prefer the earlier version, though =)

COP CARS & FLASHING LIGHTS/SIRENS - doesn't necessarily mean pull over you're in trouble. In New Orleans it mostly means 'You're in my way MOVE NOW!' and so ppl move over quite happily and the police go on their merry way doing their rounds of the streets. It's all very peaceful. I did see a fair few ppl getting arrested over the Mardi Gras celebrations and, considering how tolerant they ordinarily are if you've crossed a line it must be either a pretty big one or you were removed for public safety. I saw one young man totally off his face sitting on the sidewalk. He was so pissed he couldn't move, couldn't speak and certainly couldn't remember where he was staying (or even what his name was or who he was staying with). Oh no, I lie - he could speak. He was fluent in cussing LOL As I came up near them he was swearing up a blue streak and one of the police officers asked him politely to moderate his language. The guy's swearing got even worse (hell, my paternal gran taught me to swear and she AND my gramps were in the army and this guy couldn't taught her a thing or two) and I was slightly impressed and horrified at one and the same time, but jumped outta my socks when the officer clapped his hands together (it was so loud it sounded like a gunshot) and yelled, 'I asked you to moderate your language, sir, there are ladies present.' Like a fool I stopped to look around and realised that as the only female out and about in the wee hours of the morning he meant me LOL They take Southern Hospitality extremely seriously there :-)

Oh ok, it's 3:11pm on Saturday the 7th of March and my plane got in at err roughly 7:00am and I'm dead beat and, after handing around souvenirs to siblings and repeating every day a million times to each sibling and then some (why do we never all meet in the one place at the one time eep) I'm done. More stuff will probably hit me later (like why the frick do people have to squish into planes, so much so that when the person in front leans their chair back they're almost sitting in your intestines?!? greedy airlines!) so until then I'm out.

One comment

LMAO, enjoyed your update and thanks for the laughs on the ads!

by Teddyree on March 26, 2009 at 5:27 PM. #

Leave your comment

Kia ora! Have a comment or suggestion to make? Then speak now or forever hold your peace.