I was going to keep a blog as I went, but I only ever made one post. It was here. Now it is here:
There is no beginning to this story… [Jul. 22nd, 2004|12:35 am]
[ music | The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet ]
Every journey has an arbitrary beginning. This journey is no different. Or to put it another way, the Bright Eyes record ‘Lifted, or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground’ starts off with a seven minute track that only sounds like half a song; Conor sings over a vaguely strummed acoustic guitar and some driving and conversation noises. Near the end he starts getting all worked up and then it cuts out. The next track, ‘Method Acting’, starts off with the line ‘there’s no beginning to this story,’ and it’s correct, because the album just kind of fizzles in, if you know what I mean.
My trip was like that. I could go into all the history, like filling out the forms, or choosing WWU, or meeting the cute apple-pie blond girl from Iowa, or even the first time I heard of the damn place, but I don’t want to go into all that David Copperfield shit. I wouldn’t mind further discussion about the girl from Iowa, though. If you’re from Iowa and you’re hot, I want to talk to you.
So I’m stating arbitrarily that the story began yesterday. 20th of July, 2004.
Now, let’s check the facts. I’m 20 years old, Australian and an unwilling resident of Newcastle, a far too small city on the east coast. It has beaches, suburbs and too many people who like football too much. I am doing a Bachelor of Communication at the University of Newcastle, in my third year, majoring in Journalism and Media Production. In September of this year I will leave the country for almost the first time in my life and spend the following six months in the United States, going to University in Washington (state). I’ve never been good at keeping journals; fortunately, this thing isn’t a journal. It’s a collection of thoughts about the United States of America. It’s not an ‘I did this, then I did this’ (though, today it is).
There are rules to this thing. I can only eat something if it’s on the menu. If they ask me to supersize, I have to do it. And I have to eat everything on the menu at least once. That is not true.
And yesterday, I waited in a room for almost three hours to get a visa.
So yeah, I went to the consulate in Sydney, it was long, bureaucratic and none of the pretty girls I saw talked to me, except I did get a smile from the daughter of the parents who were emigrating and couldn’t remember to bring their documents (wife to husband: ‘I’m the creative artist type and you’re the smart lawyer who’s meant to have all this together!’).
And I saw Americans, which is fun, because I love Americans. One guy had a big Green Bay Packer’s jacket and a goatee. Very U.S.A. And then there was the soccer mom with permed, dyed hair and her sk8er boi son in hoodie and backwards baseball cap. I think people who say our culture’s being taken over by Americans don’t know Americans. No matter how many kids wear their caps backwards or how many women get their hair styled ridiculously, Australians just can’t match the Americanness of Soccer Mom and Sk8er Boi. They’re in a class all of their own.
The consulate had lots of posters of different states on the walls, which was cool, because American states maintain very distinct cultures. I like that. We don’t do that in Australia. But the one that I was most interested in was the poster of Delaware, because where Alaska had Eskimos, and bears and Anchorage, and Oregon had Portland and Mount Hood, all Delaware had was a photo of a finger of land (or maybe it was a dock) leading out into a body of water. I guess there’s not much you can do to pictorially summarise Delaware.
And just to top it all off, I went to the new Krispy Kreme near Wynyard Station, which was the epitome of Americanness and generally one of the greatest things in existence. When I’m in America, I’ll live off Krispy Kreme donuts, because these things are up there with the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China as far as feats of Human acheivement go. I tell you, I’d forgive Dubya if he told us that he invaded Iraq because he heard Saddam was stockpiling Krispy Kremes. War for oil is heinous, but war for donuts is something we all should support.