Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Foreign Service

There aren't many Americans in Glasgow. Or, perhaps, I simply haven't found the American enclave, the secret town of hot wings, real football, and people who drive on the correct side of the road.

What this means, beyond the fact that I'm now the one with the cute accent, is that I get a lot of questions, about both Presidents Bush (the recent) and Obama (the only, thus far). I have people asking me what I think of the eight years under Bush and the last year under Obama. And I'm cool with that; when someone's curious and they meet an American, why not take the chance to question him, see what he's like, size him up against preconceived notions? I hope I dispel some of the stereotypes. (Although, today, I was questioned by the shopkeeper where I was ordering a bacon cheeseburger and fries. Ha.)

More interesting is that I have a lot to listen to. As if I'm some conduit to the public zeitgeist, people enjoy sharing their opinions of the United States with me. The shopkeeper today, for example, an Iranian with a solid Glaswegian accent, exhausted his questions in a minute or so and spent the next 10 minutes telling me his views of America. He went on about what he likes about President Obama, what he disliked about President Bush, and what he fears from the increasing polarization of political and religious zealots. He went from Farsi phrases to discussing the web of power in America that stretches across the world, influenced by so many elements.

The important bit, though, was his smile. He seemed happy that he found an American and, moreso, one who was open to listening to him. Honestly, I agree with a lot of what the shopkeeper said, though I don't think that mattered to him much. The thrill of having my ear seemed to be enough.

And his burger wasn't bad, even if it was British bacon.


  1. Whoa, wait a minute. Is British bacon different? How so???

  2. British bacon is akin to Canadian bacon, but better due to being generally more lean. It is not, however, good ol' fashioned crispy American bacon, done in strips with the fat making everything ever so delicious.

  3. Oh. That's disappointing. I'm not even allowed to say "Canadian bacon" in my house; my roommates have banned the phrase as it's clearly not real bacon.