In our house we have a vested interest in all things USA. Three quarters of us are officially American. The inauguration of the 46th President was therefore inescapable. It would be fair to say we cast a somewhat critical leer towards Biden’s zimmer-shuffle to the Oval Office; as towards his predecessor’s many indiscretions.
Not so the family we’ve left on US soil. Never more batty has been their social media feeds. The first which dragged us like a Kansas tornado from rage to amusement and back again was that of our twenty-something niece, who asserted solemnly from a beach that we must #StaySafe and #StayAtHome. Factoring in the enthusiasm of the young, we could give her a lesson or two about what ‘Stay At Home’ actually means. We did not.
Questions we wanted to but did not ask:
Do you live on the beach now?
Is this beach the twenty miles+ we know it is from your house if you haven’t moved?
Do you know that #StayAtHome for us means if we put the bins out there’s a 50/50 chance a neighbour will report us to the police?
Others were more sanguine in their approach to the brave new dawn; “Oh my God, so AMAZING we don’t have a FASCIST in charge anymore!”; “HOPE”; “HOPE IS ALIVE”; “We are SAVED at LAST”. You get the gist.
One close relation in her mid-thirties, Madeleine, waxed lyrical on the news a mass vaccination centre was to open at Dodgers Stadium. For the Scottish inbreds reading, that’s in ‘Los Angeles’; a major southern Californian metropolis which expanded fantastically in the early twentieth century, going on to provide many of the cultural touchpoints of modern American history; such as the movie industry or ‘Hollywood’, gangland warfare, pulp fiction, race riots and a innovative water supply system via the desert.
Madeleine was ever so pleased to have a vaccine potentially available for her just round the corner. Interestingly she already worked from home pre-pandemic, has no children, is neither fat or sick, and taking bonkers to a new level gets herself tested every fortnight for COVID-19 ‘just in case’. Her sage advice on us questioning this strategy is that “I don’t know about you guys, but over here all the people dying are in their 30s and 40s”.
I think to myself ‘that cannot be true’. I check. It isn’t. This is however the same kin who after a lifetime ignoring elections has taken to dotting her expansive social media presence with BLM and “TRUMP IS A NAZI” paraphernalia.
Madeleine is not alone amongst our family in the Land Of The Free. A surprising number of former ‘don’t give a f***’-ers suddenly find themselves decked out with catchphrases of the moment and superior otherworldly goodness. It seems crackers to me, particularly when I know a good number are first-class specialists in their field of Nursing, History of Art, etc., but have never heard of Henry Kissinger and think Abraham Lincoln delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
The fact is, they are positively willing an American lockdown to happen. In the federal system it seems inconceivable, but hasn’t Trump shown anything can come to pass?
Having taken it on the chin for this past year I have to say it’s the final straw. We still, but now half-heartedly, think the USA will be our great escape from Scotland’s Stasi.
My temple throbs all day; Cerberus, Medusa, Mrs M and I have gone potty and increasingly illiterate, and instability abounds like we’ve never experienced in our lives. Why would anyone wish it upon themselves?
Today is the perfect example. We signed in to school. That was the sum total of learning. Mrs M and I’s work took up the rest of our time whilst Cerberus and Medusa knocked chunks out of each others faces a) in the living room; b) in each bedroom; c) in the kitchen; d) in the garden. They are battered and bruised, and should the social work department arrive they’d better remember the plot of Oliver Twist. I have read it to them but as with every utterance from my lips they didn’t hear a thing.
Our object each day is to make sure we get to bed without requiring to visit hospital. We have had to do so twice already in lockdown, one visit per young ‘un and both related to foreign objects having been lodged by another child into an orifice.
If the great ship of freedom, known as America, swelled into our peripheral vision we’d light all our flares and scream for a rope to pull us out of this sinking dinghy.
My advice to our overseas cousins right now; be careful what you wish for. What are the odds on the USA still being in lockdown in January 2025? I’ve a feeling we’ll still be..