Saturday, May 31, 2008

America The Beautiful

Last weekend while in D.C. I was thrown into a situation where I thought about "America." As a whole. Don't get me wrong, I love New York but it is not so much America as a whole bunch of tourists and a whole lotta glamour. Which is one aspect of America, but it certainly is not characteristic of the majority of the country. So yes, all you people in Central PA who think I've become a fast-talking, designer-jeans wearing Big Apple liberal, I DO RECOGNIZE THIS IS NOT HOW EVERYONE FUNCTIONS. But my presence in the nation's capital on the most patriotic of holiday's (behind Independence Day, of course) gave me a little flavor for the rest of America. The part that falls between New York and Los Angeles.

Per ejemplo:

I think it first struck me when I was standing in line at the International Spy Museum (GREAT museum, by the way) looking at the other people waiting in line. Ahead of me I noticed three men, perhaps two brothers and a son. One man was wearing a Blue Angels T-shirt. Another was wearing an NRA hat and a T-shirt with Charlton Heston's face and his now infamous quote, "You can pry it from my cold dead hands." Yep, right there on his chest for the whole world to see. And the boy had on a T-shirt, clearly from some type of Christian retreat, and the back had "Romans 12:2" written on it. Usually these types of shirts actually have the accompanying verse quoted, oh but no, this just had the citation. Maybe because where he's from EVERYONE JUST KNOWS the verse. For the record, I had to look it up (In case you were wondering, as I'm sure SO MANY of you were- "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will"). This trio hit the ball out of the park that reads "I'm not in New York anymore." I wondered, "Is this America?"

Then I was talking to my best friend Meesh about this whole situation and how I kind of feel like I live in between worlds. I'm in this city that is a total aberration of reality, then I go home to central PA which is just a whole other situation in and of itself, and so I get these extremes. In addition, I'm at a point where I'm not quite an adult (i.e., one with a husband and a family, not that having a husband/kids MAKES you an adult, but just work with me here) but I totally identify with that phase of life, yet I'm not quite a kid (i.e., in my own me-focused universe, not that that makes you a kid) but I totally identify with that world as well. So on both accounts, what the heck does the rest of the country (i.e., 'adults' in 'America') look like?

Meesh in all her profound wisdom responded, "Look, I'm getting on a plane in 2 days to fly off to backpack ASIA for 3 weeks. I don't know what it means to be an adult in America. I was walking by Fanueil Hall the other day and saw all these families watching street performers and I thought to myself, 'At what point in my life do I make the switch from backpacking in Asia to watching jugglers in Boston?'"

Is it Reebok and Levis and Chevy? Cracker jack and Coors and apple pie? Carnivals and Little League and YMCA? Even the NRA? I don't really know. But what I do know is that I am so far from all of that right now, I couldn't even begin to make an accurate assessment, aside from what I see in my version of adult reality (NYC).

But I suppose that's what it means to be a GenY twenty-something, right? Searching and exploring, even "backpacking Asia" to find ourselves? And then maybe, just maybe, at some point land in America driving our 2.2 children to the carnival in our Chevy to eat some apple pie? Living the American dream. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

No comments: