I keep meaning to write about Everything That Is Clearly Wrong With This Strange Country, but not doing. I could say I don't know where to begin, but a lot of it dispirits as well as confuses me, and then I have to think of the things America does right instead of getting on the internets and typetty typetty type. (I'm only blogging now because I have some immigration paperwork due. Srsly). Things America does right include icecream, butterflies, the cost of videogames, children (though I am sure that every nation on earth has better children than the UK), mainstream gay clubs, shoes, icecream and icecream. But some things here are terrible to contemplate. I am never going to an American mainstream straight club ever again. (And I really want to write about that here, but damn, it'd be hard). I get a lump in my throat every time I remember that most Americans do not know the taste of bread. (I am going to make them some next weekend. Disaster awaits).
And sometimes I just trip over stuff that I know isn't their fault really. My belief that they urbanised wrong is clearly biased and unfair. They have a whole vocabulary for being polite, and I am not fluent in it. And their social taboos are in places I never expect them. (If I knew what my social taboos were, I couldn't possibly tell you).
I am c/ping from my own Deadjournal here:
Look. We (that is, a large and assorted group of relations) were off foraging for lunch and I ended up in a car that also contained M (driving) and two smaller people - his stepbrother (aged 16) and his half-nephew (aged 11). I was asking the elder of these about his tatts and piercings, pretending I took his replies (and him) very seriously, like you do when people are 16. Nod, smile, He then starts talking about his atheism. Nod, smile, a few supportive comments, 'it's good that you've thought about this for yourself', nod. It seems to me that the two boys have had this discussion before, and the younger is not happy with it. We reached our destination right then, and M's sister is already there, and the 11-year-old is fretting and going over to her.
So I get chastised by M and his sister for not being a responsible adult and somehow putting a stop to that conversation. I have always thought that afflicting the comfortable was part of my remit (at least when I am not being a giant wuss), but no, I am supposed to be shutting the closet door and leaning hard against it. Of course it wasn't that they disapproved - they were concerned about what their elder half-sister would say if her little boy told her of this shocking thing, that a teenage relative talked about atheism and an adult openly encouraged this. Never mind that he surely already knows his step-uncle is an atheist; responsible adults are not supposed to facilitate that kind of conversation. Never mind that neither M nor his sister are Christians themselves.
This kind of thing leads to me feeling anxious.
I've tried discussing it with both of them and they seem to be making mental leaps that I am not capable of at all. (I have an unhelpful belief that one closet is much the same as any other; just a place between two high walls). M says I have it all wrong and I'm just thinking of the elder kid but his thoughts are of the younger; myself, I don't see any reason for an 11-year-old to be shielded from the fact that not all of his family are devout Catholics. Worse, I don't see why anyone would want their child to assume that no one doubted his religion. What am I not seeing?