The recuperation of Clueless Immigrant

by awindram

[tweetmeme source=”awindram” only_single=false]  Clueless Immigrant’s convalescence continues apace. As few of you probably remember, last week’s post recounted how an overexertion of the brain (and possible monoxide poisoning due to a faulty fireplace) over the Christmas period saw Clueless being found in his armchair quite catatonic. There was a worry that future Clueless Immigrant posts would have to be composed Diving Bell and the Butterflystyle with Clueless blinking each letter of his trademark frippery with his left eyelid to a bored, and increasingly resentful, amanuensis. Thankfully, things haven’t got quite that grim  and Clueless finds himself tucked up in bed sipping on a hot toddy of four loko, crunching contentedly on marmalade and toast, and checking the Racing Post app to see what happened at the 5.15 at Newmarket.   Indeed, Clueless’s recuperation has  gone so well, he can even bring to the disinterested readers of this blog, the mildly diverting things that he has learnt this week:

  1. Pick-up trucks and the ridiculous, precarious looking, crap that people put in the back of them:
    Clueless Immigrant is not what you’d call a confident driver. He’s also not what you’d call a good driver. Nonetheless, living in the peculiar part of the US that he does (the natives quaintly refer to it as “California”) he is forced to get behind the wheel of a car. This means Clueless and what he thinks is his sensibly sized car have to share the road with the engine-rumbling, fume-spewing behemoths (the natives quaintly refer to them as “pick-up trucks”) that everybody else in the Central Valley feels the need to drive. While doubtless a very practical vehicle for those working or transporting goods from nearby farms (or transporting corn-fed patrons to the nearest Denny’s), it doesn’t seem as necessary for every teacher, hairdresser and candlestick-maker in town to have one. This place, it has become abundantly apparent to Clueless, is not a Nissan Micra, Ford Fiesta kind of place.
    What’s been alarming Clueless Immigrant of late is when he is driving along the highway at the speed limit he is passed by speeding pick-up truck after speeding pick-up truck. Often as they pass, Clueless will hear a rattling noise. At first, Clueless worried that it was an engine problem with his sensibly sized car, but no, it’s  the rattling of the utterly random shit that people feel the need to put in the back of their pick-up trucks: secretariats, desks, an industrialized sawing machine, step-children, boxes of fireworks, migrant workers, stolen pandas from San Diego zoo. Clueless has seen it all. Clueless guesses that it’s their prerogative to put whatever they want in their trucks and transport it to wherever they want, but, my God, how he wishes they could properly stabilize these items. Too often these trucks end up resembling the Beverly Hillbillies moving into town as they’ve got so much crap precariously piled up in the back. Clueless has no wish to be in an accident on the highway because someone thought it was a great idea to put a grandfather clock on top of a rocking chair and then drive at 90mph.
  2. Bumper stickers (again), but this time “Euro” style:
    No matter what, Clueless Immigrant’s attempt to  better understand American culture and its various sub-cultures, he almost always seem to return to the subject of bumper stickers. Clueless is fully aware that this is a field that he has already ploughed, but it’s proving to be such a fecund field that he keeps returning to it in this blog.
    Over the last year, Clueless has been noticing a particular type of bumper sticker that has been eliciting curious pans of nostalgia (though it might be heart burn) in him.  I’m sure most Europeans remember the white oval bumper stickers that cars would have designating their country of origin: a German car would have a black “D” in a white overall, a British car would have “GB”, etc. Well, it seems that retro “Euro” style bumper sticker is becoming de rigueur in the US. Clueless recently found himself in Vermont and was struck how every tourist site or town seemed to be selling these “Euro” style stickers. America, such a silly place. Doesn’t want to copy our health-care,  but does want to copy our bumper stickers. Priorities, priorities.  
  3. Concord Grapes:
    Clueless Immigrant is cringing. It’s his default emotional state. He cringes when he hears what others have to say, he cringes when he thinks back to the utter tosh he has said. And he’s cringing something chronic at the moment as his stupidity is revealed to all – though, in fairness, Clueless would argue that this is not so much stupidity as a cultural bias.
    When Clueless first moved to the US and a simple trip to the supermarket was still an exotic, wonderful experience and a reminder that Clueless was living in a brave, new world, he kept noticing in the supermarket concord grape products – concord grape jelly (or jam) , concord grape juice, etc. Concord? Clueless had not heard that name before. Embarrassingly, Clueless managed to get through a number of years in the US and he has only just realised that concord grape is not a brand name but is, in fact, an actual grape varietal. Clueless Immigrant – what a twunt.    

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