Howdy y’all! Giggety Giggety Giggety.
Well, I finally arrived, slightly later than schedule thanks to Uncle Sam and his bungling buffoons at Newark Passport control hall. It’s no hardship now, but at the time I was pretty ready to go into orbit due to being stuck in the biggest queue I’ve ever seen Stateside; all the time wondering why the queue wasn’t going down and only then to see people queue jumping en masse.
I realised almost immediately that I’d visited America at totally the worst time ever (in respect of travelling through airports), St Patricks festivities was about to kick off and Spring Break was kicking in. Everyone and their grandma was hopping on a plane. HOARDS of Irish lads were pushing in left right and centre ready to get on the craic, and just about everyone started playing tit for tat with them and joined in. It was chaos.
Now the ‘old’ me of ten years ago would have been in on that action straight away, I’d have pushed up in front and been supping on root beer outside the transfer gate with time to kill before boarding my connecting flight, but not this time. I couldn’t risk being anything but the perfect guest. And I had bloody good reason.
When I last left the States on August 2nd 1999 an ex of mine tried her very best to clip my wings out of spite and get me in serious trouble with FBI and Homeland security after 9/11 (which happened the following month) had come to pass. I had them calling me up, asking me all sorts of questions, getting me to send in documents and to justify all my sources of finance, political motivation and for some time I was pretty concerned I was going to be hauled off to the Embassy to face charges. Although that was eventually cleared up but it served as something of a catalyst for my brief lovers spat with the USA. More specifically, the Bush administration; sheep violators extraordinaire.
In retrospect I thought I had it made until I was confronted with the sight of the queue at passport control. The flight to Newark from London Gatwick was a breeze, and having won 30 quid (pounds) on the fruit machine with my last two nuggets (thanks Dad) I thought my luck was in for the rest of the day. However , not so. Passport Control had gone to hell, organisation had disintegrated due to various scare tactics and ultra conservative bilge spewed out by the current government.
Due to the mismanagement with passport control I consequentially missed my flight. Cheers George, you totally deformed boss eyed midget f*ckface!!!!
I was quickly faced with the stark reality of having to wait in the airport for 24 hours or possibly get a hotel room because there were no more flights to Kansas City. I was not happy at all. Dejected, I hobbled over to Continentals Flight desk and they presented me with an option of going on a flight to Houston and then on a late flight to Kansas City. Woohoo. I phoned Amy (my extremely gracious host) and ranted with her for a short time before dashing off.
Houston was always my first choice whenever I came here, it’s HUGE and people there are a world more friendly than the neanderthals that seem to populate Newark Liberty; ironically my return ticket is via there so I’m pretty relieved about that.
When I got into Houston I was told by a very nice lady doing the check in for the Kansas City flight that I had to wait to see if people didn’t arrive to take their seat (on a very small 60 seater plane) before I got mine. Great, more lies at Newark. My heart sunk. Bugger.
I sat there quite despondant for 45 minutes which felt like an eternity; eventually arriving at the realisation that I was being a hugely fantastic prat and quite the drama queen (and that millions of people were in vastly more serious situations around the world than I) before I eventually got the call to say some poor sod had missed their flight. Wooohoooo!
I didn’t care that I had cashed in on someone elses misfortune but hey, you can kiss my distinctly genetically confused behind if you have a problem with that.
So, I eventually arrived to Kansas City International around 5-6 hours after my previous scheduled time. Thankfully my baggage was where it was meant to be and even though it was a bit tenuous at times, the airline had come through for me. Amy was waiting with a HUGE bag of food which I was too tired to eat and I legged it out into the parking lot before ‘The man’ could stick me in an orange suit and send me off to Camp Torture. Ha ha, up yours ugly!
I was never so glad to be ‘home’, and on the 40 minute drive to Amy’s I quickly relaxed back into an environment which was a million miles away from scaremonger city; a place that ultimately felt akin to slipping on a comfortable and favourite pair of shoes which I’d found in the back of my wardrobe.
All the way to Olathe (where I’m staying) I couldn’t help but feel that the Bush administration had made changes which fundamentally threatened everything I had loved about being here, countless times travelling that day I heard Americans being very vocal about their displeasure with the situation around the world, the economy back home and also how scared they were of a terrorist attack.
I was so relieved that I could see the potential of seeing the tide starting to turn. Hearing Americans being critical of their country is not something I ever thought I’d hear (apart from the usual Redneck cynic, who I might add are my favourite people in all the world) and for the most part, it’s very sad because I know how patriotic I am of my own country. I shared their sentiments, our own government is a corrupt and uncaring cancerous blight on the British people just as much as theirs is on them.
Ultimately it made me realise that government influence can convince or force people to move in certain directions for dubious gain, but the steadfast core of people themselves don’t change and will eventually rebel back to where they should be.
It made me feel a lot more positive about where things here are heading given the pending election; I very much hope that someone steps in and starts rebuilding the image of the States internationally which reflects the heart of most people here, and of course stabilise the economy because it’s getting bloody expensive! It pains me to see people have a bad opinion of most folk here, I’ve generally always experienced great kindness, consideration and curiosity of my way of life. Not the endless war machine you’d see portrayed on sensationalist news programmes.
My advice? Try not to be too suckered in by the news reports back in England and elsewhere outside the US; it’s not all blindless devotion to the red white and blue. Not by a long shot. People here seem absolutely sick of how things are, yes they initially followed the government through a sense of patriotism but then you can find that misgiving (if it is one) in Britain as well. We were all lied to.
Still, I see a lot of good things ahead and I shall do my bit by investing in the American economy, shopping till I drop and eat good hearty things which a dietician would cringe at.
On a very personal note : OI! BUSH! SORT IT OUT AND RESIGN NOW! AND TAKE GORDON CLOWN WITH YOU! I SHALL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR MAKING ME MISS MY ‘FIRST NIGHT IN AMERICA IS STEAK NIGHT!’ TRADITION.
OK, rant over. Happy happy joy joy. I’m off to McDonalds. Hopefully 🙂