Not Your Average American

I'm weird.

Yeah, I'll just throw that one out there.

Even though I'm nearly Australian (crossing fingers for this month), most people now know and are used to the fact I'm from the States. While that doesn't bother me, it does mean I get some interesting experiences...

Not too often - but often enough - I get questions about the States. Something in the recent news that someone wants an American's opinion on, something about US history, something about US geography... The list goes on.

That is when I start perplexing people.

Sure, I'm pretty damn good with the geography of the place, but that is about it.

You see, I had a bit of a weird upbringing. I wasn't like a lot of other kids. I didn't grow up with the music of my generation. While other kids were busy listening to the radio, I had cassette tapes I listened to repeatedly that had songs from the 50s and 60s. My favourite songs were La Bamba and Rock Around the Clock. I received my first CD when I was a teen and wondered if I'd ever prefer listening to CDs over my beloved cassettes (which I still have).

Pop culture? News? Fashion? Forget about it. I had my own style and was happy with that. I was lost in my own head most of the time, writing books since about the age I learned how to write. (I was telling them when I didn't know how to write.) I didn't care what other people were doing or thinking; I pretty much knew what I wanted from life and that was that. The world could and would certainly move on without my input.

Geography? Well, I always aced the 'name that state' quizzes, but my family didn't travel. At all. I was able to visit Canada and neighbouring states thanks to my grandparents and friends, but that was it. I couldn't tell you if the summer mornings in California are particularly crisp or not. I couldn't tell you if the beer on the west coast is better than the beer on the east coast (and not just because I wasn't legal).

Sometimes, yeah, I like to think I know 'the American experience' enough to tell people things about America, but really? I'm not your average American. I grew up screwed up in more ways than one, had a strange childhood, a mostly lacking education and a mind that always preferred being in the novel worlds I created rather than the real world.

Did I predict Obama would win? Yes, and I based it on several reasons. Am I surprised about the latest 'stupid American did this' newspaper story? No, I'm used to it.

But can I tell you what was popular/going on/being done/etc while I was living there? No, not really.

I'm just weird.


Hanlie said...

That's probably a good thing... In my experience Americans are not really taught independent and individual thought! So it's refreshing when you come across the ones who march to their own drummers!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I don't think you're weird so much as biding your time until you could realize your destiny and leave. Ya know?

Jenera said...

Eh, I'm weird too then. Growing up we only listened to oldies and didn't listen to 'popular' music until I was in my teens. I knew a bit about politics but mostly because my father was in the military.

JM said...

Hanlie - Very true. I was always just a bit different from everyone else, that's for sure.

Susan - Oh, yeah. Even at a young age I had the itch that I wasn't where I was supposed to be.

Jenera - Maybe that's why we get along so well. :)