A few days ago I broached the subject of films.
Amongst the many comments there was one from Mac. He pointed to two of his posts which he reckoned would drive me nuts [his words, not mine]. Things we can learn from films about the American way of life.
While not quite driving me nuts, they do include a couple of things that had intrigued me in the past, and continue to do so.
He mentions the ability of American drivers to cover miles of road without ever looking at where they are going. I know a lot of women in Ireland seem to have perfected this trick, but any time I try it, I inevitably pile into the car in front [or end up in the ditch]. Being a driver, I always feel a little nervous when they do that stunt on screen but maybe I'm just being over cautious?
And talking of driving there are a couple of other facets that intrigue me.
How come any time anyone is going somewhere by car they always find a parking spot directly outside their destination? I don't think I have ever seen a film where they arrive and then have to circle the block several times looking for somewhere to stick their vehicle. In my experience, any time I want to visit a particular shop in Skobieville I have to park a considerable distance away as there is either no parking allowed anywhere near the shop or else all the spaces are full.
Another one that has me sitting on the edge of my chair is the American ability to reverse at high speed out of a driveway onto a road without a single smash, or at the very least a screech of tyres and a loud honking horn. I don't think I have ever seen them reverse as far as the pavement and then check to see if there is any traffic coming.
No one in America ever seems to need a piss or a dump. Unless it is part of the plot, no one ever goes to the jax. In the same vein, no one ever coughs, yawns or sneezes unless the plot involves them coming down with a deadly plague. By the same token, unless it's a puerile comedy, Americans never ever fart.
Another miracle of American life is that everyone seems to live just inside their front door with a telephone handy. Our hero [or whoever] strides up to the front door and knocks [Americans don’t have door bells apparently] and within a second or two the door is opened, proving conclusively that the resident is just standing there waiting for a caller. The same applies to phone calls – the phone is invariably answered within the first two seconds. Do Americans ever get caught in the shower, or go into a back room that is a distance from the door or phone, or hang their washing in the back garden? By the same token a caller never hangs up just as someone reaches the phone to answer it, which always happens to me.
America seems to be full of highly successful architects. All families live in the same leafy suburbs where he is an extremely successful architect with his own extremely successful business, while she is either an artist or a teacher. Unless of course they are down and outs living in a mobile home where he just spends his time slugging beer and beating the girlfriend.
It never rains in America, unless it's part of the plot where someone has to take shelter in a haunted house or meet a handsome stranger in a shop doorway. The kids play happily in the garden in the sunshine. Roads are always completely dry, with ne'er sign of a recent passing shower. Thunder and lightening only ever happen when something creepy is about to happen?
Frankly, America seems to be a very predictable and boring place with none of the little vicissitudes that make life interesting.
It's nothing like Ireland anyway.