And on the seventh day there was mildly diverting things a clueless immigrant learnt this week

by awindram

Clueless Immigrant

  1. [tweetmeme source=”awindram” only_single=false] Black Friday:
    A young lady leaned in close, as is oft their wont, to Clueless Immigrant. Clueless had inquired politely of the lady’s plans for Thanksgiving.
    “Well,” she whispered conspiratorially in his ear, “my main plans are, in fact, concerned with Black Friday.”
    Black Friday? It was a term he was not familiar with. It sounded ominous to Clueless. The knowing intonation with which the lady spoke chilled him. Had he inadvertently stumbled upon a grand conspiracy?  Was Black Friday, he wondered, connected with the notorious Black Hand? Clueless had his suspicions. The lady, he had concluded, was clearly a nihilist – one could tell from the scuffed shoes she wore. No doubt this Black Friday she spoke of was some dissident group she was involved in. She must have mistaken Clueless for a co-conspirator. But Clueless also found himself recalling a film he had seen. Black Sunday it was called – a film of revenge, carnage and the occult. Could these Black Friday people have been inspired by it? Perhaps they were not, as he had first thought, political agitators but instead were foolhardy souls dabbling in the black arts? Clueless found that he couldn’t entirely discount that possibility. He vowed to dig deeper into this Black Friday and discover what malignant intent it had.
    “So,” he asked, “what happens at Black Friday?”
    She smiled. “Mayhem. Delicious, 40% off mayhem.”
    A shiver went down the spine of Clueless Immigrant.
  2. Non-sports TV shown in bars:
    Clueless Immigrant was, as is oft his wont, dining by himself. Being a true gourmand he was at a fine establishment – a sports bar that specialised in buffalo wings and onion rings. Clueless was of the opinion that any business within the catering world that makes its waiting staff wear T-shirts emblazoned with the logo “no bull, just good food,” had to indeed be the real deal. As we have established, Clueless was eating alone and so took more attention than he might previously have done to the numerous TV screens that were hung from the bar’s walls. Clueless had tried reading, remembering the pretentiously sage advice of his university tutor who had once told Clueless, who back then was known as Clueless Undergrad, that one should always have a small copy of Marvell’s poetry for precisely these sort of lonesome, dining moments. “You’re never alone with Marvell,” he had informed Clueless. But as Clueless admired the angel neck tattoo of one of the patrons at the table in front of him, he suspected this advice re: the reading of Anrew Marvell’s poetry probably did not extend to wings restaurants in the Central Valley, so Clueless decided it would be safer if he kept his eyes firmly on the TV screen nearest him. He noticed, however, that the screens were not tuned in to a sports network such as ESPN, but to Wheel of Fortune.  Even though there may not have been an obvious game on that evening, it struck Clueless as a little odd in a world of 24 hour rolling sports channels (there must be some sort of sporting action taking place somewhere in the world) that they would choose a show where the main interest stems from what frock will Vanna be wearing tonight. Isn’t this precisely the sort of programming you go to a bar to escape from? Clueless recalled how he had once stumbled across a dive bar that had its TVs tuned to PBS and Midsomer Murders. Even though no one other than him seemed to be paying attention to the tv screen, Clueless felt that a dive bar that played PBS could not hope to keep it dive bar vibeiness – no matter how many neck tattoos its customers sported. He had checked the jukebox to see if Garrison Keillor or any other NPR stalwarts were on it, but no such luck. 
  3. Take a penny, leave a penny:
    Clueless, as is oft his wont, did not want to initiate conversation with the checkout girl, but there was a small tray of pennies (or cennies as Clueless called them) by the till and this piqued Clueless’s curiosity. Clueless was informed by the checkout girl that it was called “take a penny, leave a penny,” and that it was effectively an honour system allowing people not to need lots of loose change in order to complete their transaction. If you received a penny in change you could leave it in the tray and then someone who might need a penny for their transaction could take your penny to avoid fumbling about in their trouser pockets for loose change. Clueless was impressed by this system; this was the polite, surprisingly thoughtful America that Clueless loved and thought it good to remind himself about in a week that had seen bruising and divisive electoral mid-terms. Clueless as he pocketed all of the tray’s pennies – an honour system means nothing to the dishonourable – and bid farewell to the checkout girl  couldn’t imagine  anything like “take a penny, leave a penny” working in the UK.