Thoughts upon Returning to America Two Years Ago

It’s clear that I have failed miserably at finishing my final posts from our last trip.  However, I have had the final post done for a very long time just hoping that eventually I would finish my Peru posts and I could put everything in chronological order.  But I’m not feeling chronological anymore, so, linear time be damned – I’m going to post my final post from two years ago and if I ever finish those other ones, it will be like a pleasant trip back in time…

June 2009

As we landed in Miami Adam looked out the window and noted, “It’s going to be hot as Hell out there.”

“Yes,” I agreed, “but just think—the airport will surely be air-conditioned and then we just need to take the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned hotel room where we can stay until we go to the air-conditioned dinner place.”

We’re in the US of A again, baby, and that’s how we roll.

And of course when we walked into the terminal we were hit with a blast of cold air. That entire, massive space was chilled to the point of almost too cold. We flagged down the free shuttle and moments later we were sitting in our room on a bed with five huge pillows on it. Why does anyone need five pillows?

We turned on the TV and were once again privy to the wonders of American cable television. Oprah and her spiritual advisers were doling out advice. A CNN anchor was flagrantly flouting the network’s superfluous technology by manically drawing Madden-like circles and arrows all over a background screen reminiscent of the wall-TV in Fahrenheit 451. Another news network was asking viewers to weigh in on whether or not it was appropriate for a police officer to use a taser on a 70 year old woman. Divorce Court. Parental Control. Tila Tequila. American Gladiator. Life is sometimes better when you don’t speak the language.

There were two restaurants within walking distance, but since Chili’s and Bennigan’s both seem to offer the same menu that consists of permutations of the words, “fried, cheesy, bacon, and guacamole,” we just picked the closest one. It was about 5:00PM which would have been an unheard of hour to eat dinner in South America, but we might as well jump right back in to American conventions. I ordered the Cheesy Bacon with Fried Guacamole, and Adam ordered the Fried Cheese with Guacamole Bacon.

The next morning was our flight to the west coast. We checked out of our room and went into the lobby where Adam pointed out the overabundance of what he called, “fat people in sports costumes.” And indeed, the lobby was full of severely overweight people with penchants for jerseys. The airport was just as entertaining. I saw not one, but three whole groups of people wearing matching t-shirts and one t-shirt in particular stood out due to its simple, yet concise message: “I was in Miami Bitch.”

On the plane I flipped through the Sky Mall catalog which they do not have in other countries. Oh, how I had missed the opportunity to buy things such as a dishwasher safe marshmallow shooter, Basho the sumo wrestler glass-topped table, and Fernando the chihuahua sculpture.

When I began this trip and this blog, I had two characters in mind: Odysseus of The Odyssey and of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” and Leopold Bloom, from Joyce’s Ulysses. At the end of it all it seemed that I could relate to both. On the one hand it seemed as if we had been gone for 20 years and abruptly were shoved back into a land which we no longer understood in the same way. On the other hand it also felt as if we had blinked and it was all over, and we would certainly find pleasure in the little things that we had missed about our home country.

I look back on the morning of our departure from Lima the last stop the plane took off and glided into the rosy-fingered dawn that lit up the sky with a copper sunrise the clouds were stained dark purple against it and we stared out of the window not wanting to look away not wanting to even blink for fear that it would disappear and Adam took my hand yes and kissed me on the forehead yes and asked would we do this again and yes I said yes we will yes.




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