Here’s part two of my 4th of July two-parter (part one was yesterday), in which I love crazy old America, after all. (The four biggest reasons why.)
Happy independence – glad we managed to stay friends and what-not, you know?
Reason # 1: Cities
Admittedly I’m basing this mostly on the movies, TV, sports, books, music, and daydreaming, but when it comes to great cities I reckon America’s got the rest of the world beat.
Firstly, there’s so many of them over here. Secondly, if you ever grow tired of one, look, here comes another that’s totally different. And third, they are terribly fucking cool. Like that spray of a busted hydrant in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. On a hot day in the Bronx.
From the bustling beltway of The West Wing to the house of the rising sun down in New Orleans; the trams of San Francisco to the cheesestakes of Philly – don’t you just wanna roll up, switch on, and see what’s going down?! You never feel more alive.
Reason # 2: Enthusiasm
Even if you happen to come from a country that trades more readily in irreverence, skepticism, and understatement (ah, like me), America’s infectious enthusiasm will overmatch you eventually.
And, chances are, when it does you’ll find it absolutely thrilling. (Think Jimmy Stewart at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life…) *Wowee! A whole lot of stuff is great! I mean really, stupidly, gloriously great!* (Yeah, still doesn’t really come naturally to me, does it? But the point stands: it’s fun to be around is all.)
Case in point. A few month’s ago, for work, I drove down to Washington D.C. for an all-day training conference. The moderator (very west coast) and just about every other person present was relentlessly upbeat. Free of guile. Silly. Appreciative. Welcoming and warm… the whole thing could have been one almighty drag, but I left for home again exhilarated.
Reason #3: The Eisenhower Highway System
By which I really mean ‘the sublime possibility of crisscrossing this great and fascinating country in a car.’
Few things can beat it. Sunny day, open road, and your own set of wheels. Whack on a bit of Springsteen, wind the windows down – and at once you feel unencumbered and free; the future as full or as empty as you wish for it to be.
No exaggeration, over here, if you want to drive from Boston, in the east, to Seattle, in the west, a GPS could pretty much say, “merge on to I-90 W, then exit after 3,101 miles.” That, a simple thing and kind of miraculous all at once…
Take it away, Woody:
This land is your land, This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
Reason #4: Baseball
Ok, I know… I’ve waxed hysterical about ballparks and baseball plenty enough before on these pages.
So let’s just say the discovery I made, back in 2004, that loving baseball is easy for a cricket fan to do was one of the great ‘eureka’ moments of my little life so far, and the start of something I never want to end.
Oh, and that this might just be the most fun I’ve ever had watching sport (for being so completely unexpected):
Yep, thanks for having me, America… And, while I’m at it, thanks for the last couple of pages of The Great Gatsby, too.
Sometimes, you really are the best.