Wednesday 18 January 2012

31 Days of Blogging - Day 18

Day 18 – Talk Talk – Life’s What You Make It

I love this song and at the time it was re-released, 1990, it was a time for reflection for me. The 1980’s was over, a decade that I will always cherish.

My life had changed so much; I had a good job, I owned a house and I was married. There were times when I had to pinch myself.

A year earlier W and I had pushed the boat out and splashed out on a massive four week holiday to the United States of America, a country I had always wanted to visit. I was in awe of the place it lived up to my expectations completely.

I was young and impressionable and fell in love with the place so much that I actually considered leaving my job and my country to go and live there.

We flew to New York and then immediately on to Washington, spending two days there before heading south to New Orleans. After a day or two there, we headed west to San Francisco before visiting Los Angeles for two weeks to stay with a friend of W. Finally we headed back east to Cleveland to visit another friend of W who had been her pen pal since they were kids. Finally we drifted back to New York for a couple of days before flying back home.

There were many highlights and, of course, a couple of cultural mishaps. Here are some of them:

We saw all of the sights in Washington, but one of the funniest things I saw were a bunch of Americans at Dulles airport standing looking at Concord with looks of pure reverence. One guy turned to me and said “Wonderful, isn’t she?” As soon as I replied he shook my hand – because I was British, as if I actually had a hand in creating it.

In New Orleans in the French Quarter, we enjoyed listening to traditional jazz, while sipping Dixie beer in a bar with one of the most attractive barmaids I have ever seen. And she considered my accent to be very sexy.

I loved San Francisco and actually got cramp walking up and down the legendary hills of that city. It is still the only place on Earth where I have been in a jail cell; I hasten to add that it was on Alcatraz.

In Los Angeles, a woman was so enamoured by my accent that she said “I would do ANYTHING for an Englishman.” All I asked for was change for a dollar. In case you are wondering, she was in her seventies.

I met and chatted to KITT, the legendary Knight Rider car, lifted the A Team van, climbed on a giant telephone from Land of the Giants, met the shark from Jaws, was involved in a simulated earthquake and was attacked by Cylons – all in the space of three hours.

In Beverley Hills I saw a pair of trousers for sale in one of the shops on Rodeo Drive for $500 – and that was in a sale.

I swam in a swimming pool with one of the best dogs I have ever met – the golden retriever owned by the woman we were staying with. I wanted to bring that dog home with me; sadly W wasn’t keen on dogs and the owner wouldn’t let me take her back anyway.

I went to a drive-in movie – a surreal experience – but fun.

In Cleveland, an American guy was waiting for me to say one stereotypically English phrase – so that he could crack a totally unfunny joke. His girlfriend called him an “Asshole” when he kept trying to get me to say it – I didn’t have the heart to tell him that most British people do not say “Cheerio”. His “joke” was also not funny at all.

I climbed the Empire State Building – not like King Kong, I have to say; I used a very fast lift.

I spent Independence Day at a party in New Jersey and was followed around for the entire event by a guy with a camcorder who “loved my accent”.

I loved America and it took a while for the desire I had to uproot and move there to dissipate. By now, that little seed of desire to travel had now germinated into a full infatuation – something that still exists today.

And thankfully, at that time, my career drifted into an area that enabled me to travel abroad as part of my job. And I still do that today.

I may moan about my job on this blog but the one thing that I love about it is the opportunities it has given me over the years to visit some of the wonderful countries out there in the world.

And each time I set foot on a plane to jet to pastures new, I still get that amazing buzz that appeared in 1989 when I went to America for the first time.

Don’t you just love travelling?


Anonymous said...

Yes, I do. I'm in the middle of booking our next holiday in the UK and I get a rush every time I think about it. I enjoy the planning bit almost as much at the travel itself. I'm glad you enjoyed your time in America. Sorry about idiot who followed you or the one who tried to get you to make a fool of yourself. People like this are everywhere I'm afraid, and as you know, on both sides of the pond. When you were in America, I was living in England. Like you, I would do just about anything to have the opportunity to live abroad again.

Brilliant Talk Talk tune by the way!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Smitten,

Ah yes. I've actually spent a lot of time in the US since 1989 - not lived there but visited and had a couple of business trips. Last trip was in 2010 - when we went to Alaska.

What an amazing place.




Pandora Behr said...

Ah, yes, going to America with an accent - they do the same thing to Australians as well - and I have similar stories of being in New York being asked to say "Gday".

I can't believe you'd never been to the drive in - that was a huge part of my childhood - piling in the car to see the lastest kids film with the parents - it was a really good part of growing up in Australia in the seventies.

Cool post - though pleased to see that you've graduated to the 90s.


drb said...

Hi Mr PM,
Great blog - very succinct and still crack me up.
I love travelling but can't say I love USA (go there every 2 year for conferences) except for San Francisco and New Orleans. But I have not been to NY. SF is the other place I would love to live if there is no threat of the next biggest earthquake. I have visited the place twice and each time, I had a bag of choc/medication and a bottle of water next to my bed in preparation of a earthquake. We are going to Houston in June, will be interesting, as we have not been to Texas. BTW, I love London, wouldn't mind living there either.

I'd fall for an english accent too (can't understand the scottish accent). I've even considered (i)marrying an Englishman because of his accent (luckily encountered the love of my life in the nick of time to stop me making a huge mistake); (ii) going to a speech therapist to acquire the accent.

Elephant's Child said...

How lovely to have an infatuation that lasts a lifetime. I would call that true love.

River said...

You talked to KITT??

I love that car! I'm so jealous....

Haven't ever head of Talk Talk though or any of their songs.

Kath Lockett said...

Yep. :)

Sounds like a really idyllic time in your life, PlasMan and yep, I loved this song as well. Still have a few Talk Talk classics on my playlist.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Actually, I've been asked on a few occasions in the US whether I am from Australia.

We never had drive-ins in the UK - at least when I was growing up anyway - so it was a first.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

My views have changed slightly - I wouldn't want to live in the US these days. I've since been to some of the less glamorous places and most of them look exactly the same.

My favourite places are Boston, New York and San Francisco - and I could spend a lot of time there.

London is great - but too geared towards tourists (and therefore very expensive). There are other better places in the UK.

When I lived in Walsall my accent was very strong - called the "Black Country" accent - and I think you would have struggled to understand me. My time in Manchester has diluted it to the point where it is now described as "Northern [English]".

For example I say "bath" and "castle" instead of "barth" and "carstle" (like they do down south), plus I have picked up some Mancunian slang in my time here.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

It is - I love it. In fact we have big plans for the next year or two:

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Rome, Hong Kong (again!) and Japan.

And with work I may be heading to Copenhagen, Geneva and Kunming (in China).

You can't beat a bit of travel.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Yes - I talked to KITT - and he took the pee out of me too.

"Will you stop putting your greasy hands all over my bodywork?"

And it was the same guy who does the voice - I thought it was a recording but we actually had an amusing conversation.

Talk Talk were bigger in the 80's. This particular song was re-released - they are (or were) a great band.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kath,

Yes - it was the calm before the storm. The arguments were still in their embryonic stage.