Sunday, July 4, 2010
July 4 and all that
I should have knocked the moths off that old red tunic, paraded around the block and sung praises to God and King George.
The nationalistic spirit had subsided by 9 a.m. at the sight of some good old heartening American waffles injected with a cocktail of indecipherable chemicals.
Today probably wasn't a good day to make a show of Britishness.
For a start America has turned against Britain of late. There was the small matter of an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that has been gushing out about 104,000 gallons per hour, since April 20, and the fact that British Petroleum (formerly BP) is responsible.
Americans used to like a British accent. Now it reminds them of BP Boss Tony Hayward, the bounder and cad in charge of the oil conglomerate, who fiddles on his yacht off the Isle of Wight as turtles burn in the Gulf.
July 4 passed me by anyhow. When I first arrived in the US the extended family invited me down to their pool, decked me in the colors that don't run, although they do on a cheap T-shirt when you get it wet, and made me an honorary American.
Today I am about as popular as Hayward and they gave up on the July 4 treatment some time back. July 4 was spend blitzing the condo in anticpiation of the arrival of my folks from Blighty, and blitzing it badly at that.
Things went well for the first couple of hours. Clutter got decluttered and we found abandoned chocolates in closets.
Then we had a couple of glasses of red wine and fragmentation set in. I threw a couple of items in boxes, fell over and damaged a shelf and found myself crashing out until 6 p.m. My wife's protestations were met with feeble groans.
There was little sign of celebrations outside, although the smell of BBQs wafted from outside and I finally embarked on my July 4 curry.
While I'm glad for the holiday the whole thing leaves me uneasy. For a start independence was declared before the red coats were even on the boat home; not cricket in my book. I recall a press trip in DC on July 4 back in the day. The wall to wall flags and the uniform march of feet down the Mall left me intimidated.
I'm all for American independence but, let's face it, it would have happened sooner or later anyhow with or without Washington, Jefferson and Adams. And Yorktown was hardly a battle to rival Waterloo, Trafalgar or Hastings in 1066.
Rather Cornwallis, faced by the angry hordes, the mosquitos and relentless sun realized it was time to call it a day and get back to Blighty in time for a decent cup of tea.