November 4th, 2020
America to MeIn light of the current USofA Presidential Election I thought I would reflect on that great big country, in terms of my own experience of the place, and the country as an entity amongst the masses of the globe. I’ve been to America a good few times, general thoughts organised by state: California - Santa Monica on holidays as a wee boy, to visit Uncle Peter where he lived just off the Venice Beach boardwalk. Days spent on the sand in the sun, playing cards on Peter’s deck, going out on his boat to Catalina, snorkelling there, surfing and splashing about, generally being cute British boys in a cute American world. New York - Three trips to NYC in recent years (see: others…) the big big Apple with all its tall buildings and low value of life. I’m sure I will go back sometime, but with Molly heading back to Europe that seems less likely. New Jersey - Bit cheeky but it counts, flying into Newark on the West side of the Hudson, and a day spent at the Willowbrook Mall with Mol one year. I got my first set of super colourful shoes there. Florida - A trip down to the Keys when I was maybe ten. Memories include a spooky thunderstorm on Halloween, the insanely hot tarmac, tin foil swans, playing hide and seek in the swimming pool at night, and leaving a brass dolphin keyring behind a lamp in the living room. Utah - Salt Lake City where Mellory lives, the Mormon Tabernacle, mountains, lake, everything painted in the colour of dust. Wyoming - Togwotee 9659. WY Wyoming, reads the sweater I’m currently wearing, bought from the ski lodges where we stayed as a part of our huge Yellowstone adventure. The views were simply incredible. Montana - Big sky country. Big tree country too. Big lake country. Big spaces country. Idaho - Potato country. Long hours of nothing much to look at. Idaho Falls. Atomic City. Twin Falls was pretty, and Boise. Oregon - Where we finally watched the eclipse, in Corvallis, by the river. It was quite awesome. Nevada - Vegas x2, once very young, staying at the Luxor, then this time last year, with dad and Ryan seeing the ‘Muricans. Mostly incredible sceneries, beautiful vistas around the country, some of which I don’t remember at all (Grand Canyon), others that I will most likely never forget (view from OWTC). There’s a strange open majesty to the country, combined with the allure of ‘untouched land’ of walking where no human has been, or at lest plotted a modern map. American People I’ve met: From LAMDA… Sarah, Peter, Claire, Danny, Maggie, Brian, Sharon, Kara, Heren, Juliana, Zoe, Alessandra, Natasha, Christina, Frankie Uncle Peter, Linda, and Cousin Charlie of course, by association Dad’s ol’ work buddos and their ilk including but not limited to Tayva, Tina, Mellory, Keeli, Heidi, Ethan, and Cody, some of whom we saw in Vegas/on the Yellowstone trip. Also Jerry the musician who taught Ryan and I to play cribbage when we were boys. ZJachk ZTucker The gang from Uni: Cory Lane, Mitchel Bendersky, Jake Dvorsky, Hannah Connery, Meghan Rowley, Maggie Johann, Rowan, Colleen, Cyle Irish Friends in NYC (etc.): Molly Mc, Paraic (citz), DOC (citz), Nathaniel O’Leary, Oscar, Finno, Austin, Jade, Anne, Connor, Hiram, Sarah, Tish, Amelia, Sean O’C, John King, Kirsty, Claudia, Conrad Sadie, Will who is bigger than he think she is, and Steve Sobal from Monkey Alina (Ben Sherratt’s gf) Some people on Dad’s side of the family (cousins?) who moved there, the parents of Alex, Jeremy and Stella. All in all, a good number of people that have given me a taste of what Americans are like, from the very loud, to the subtly sharp, and everything in between. My enduring memory of ‘America’ as a single entity is of its prodigious size, the sheer enormity of the geography both natural and urban. Yellowstone and the huge forests that were thick with sky-scraping pines, Idaho and the mile after mile after mile of crop fields. Montana, Big Sky country, lives up to its name with its huge swathes of open lakes, the Tetons mountains. The Hotels on the Vegas Strip and Fremont Street, the view from One World Trade Centre, the broad sidewalks of the city streets in New York, Los Angeles, and any town you pass through on the way. The portion sizes at IHOP or the Hard Rock Cafe, the noise of the NYC metro. All in all, America is big, as big as it can be, because there they have all the space in the world, and all the ambition to fill it. I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy, and hungry. - Hamilton What has happened to that youth and vigour, the excitement of an age where the ordinary man could leave behind their lives in favour of pursuing a greater truth. The election is almost over, with the final votes being counted it looks almost certain that Joe Biden will be elected the next President, with Kamala Harris as his Vice President. Seems like a victory for the Democrats and, in light of Donald Trump’s attempts to STOP THE VOTE, a victory for democracy. In the coming weeks the Democrats will have to face the coming law suits, as the Trump contingency go for glory, though without much support from the Republican party. Do I love America? Do I love what it stands for? Do I love the people? Do I want to live there? Do I want to work there? On my first trip to New York I was amazed by the place, both the scale of the city and the seemingly disparaging nature of the inhabitants. There I found the highest and the lowest within a few blocks. I walked through Manhattan and Brooklyn, exploring the side streets and main avenues to see what the city would yield to me. I’ve eaten at tiny deli’s on the corner of suburban streets and the large and wonderful restaurants around Times Square. I’ve sat in the parks and watched the people walk their dogs and cook barbecues. I’ve taken pictures on every street from Wall to 88th, river to river, borough to borough. I’ve been with my family and with my friends, I’ve kissed and hugged and shared secrets, planned lives and the rest of the world too. I’ve watched TV and drawn pictures, surfed, sailed, swum, snorkelled, seen, smelt, savoured, and sought. I don’t know how to answer any of the questions above, but I do know that I will set stories in America for the rest of my life.
©2007-2021 Benedict Esdale