Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Ugly American

- "I haven't been to Mexico. We get enough of that as it is."

Flying out of Norfolk would be a joy, I thought. Small airport, short security line, friendly airport staff. Well, it might have been a joy had my flight not been cancelled. I hustled, calling American Airlines and working out an early (really early) morning flight out of Richmond so that I could still make it to work the next day. Jen offered to wake up at the crack of dawn and drive me all the way there. Thanks, Jen!

On our way back to Jen's place, we decided that this turn of events called for a night of wine, cheese, and Zoolander.

The following morning, running on nearly no sleep, I boarded my Richmond flight and found myself sitting directly behind a man who brought the caricature of the "ugly American" to new, dare I say artistic levels. He was in high spirits, talking jovially to the man seated next to him, who politely laughed at a joke or two and nodded a lot but mostly kept quiet. Once my brain was awake enough to process the chatter, nothing seemed more important than jotting it all down for posterity, so I reached for my phone and began typing vigorously into my Notes app. Below are some of the actual words that came out of this man's actual mouth. Verbatim:

- Service from ... this place to Miami. I don't know where we are.
- I'm going to Colombia. I'm dating this Colombian girl half my age. 18/19. Her parents are fine with it. One less mouth to feed.
- She only speaks a little English. I don't speak any Spanish. No desire to learn Spanish either.
- I haven't been to Mexico. We get enough of that as it is.
- Colombians don't speak English. They just know American money and sports teams. 
- The Colombian girl wants to marry me.
- American cigarettes are the best cigarettes in the world.
- I like the Atlanta airport. They have smoking rooms all over. Good southern airport.
- I was married to this Romanian girl. She was 27. As I said, I like 'em young.

I cannot make this guy up, people. He exists! I made sure to obtain photographic evidence.

This guy is an actual physical person, AND he's dressed for a visit to Disney World in the 1980s.

For this post, I could have written about how this man represents everything that the U.S. should reject. Or about how thankful I am that so many of us are thinking, tolerant people who don't fit the stereotype. Or about how shocked I was to hear a person express such thoughts in a real-life setting rather than on an episode of Duck Dynasty. But critical reflection might make this guy appear a bit less ridiculous, and I won't have that. I choose ridicule. Come to think of it, someone should put this guy on stage. He'd be a riot (figuratively and perhaps literally).

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  1. Truth is often uglier than fiction.

    1. Yup. That's why I watch costume dramas. Okay, so I also watch for the cravats, but you know what I mean.