Saturday, February 3, 2007

America the Stupid?

I have a new roommate. That is, there is a french boy/man named Xavier who lives in Iga's room right next to mine in the flat, who no longer speaks to her Polish mum and dad, who no longer comes home at 10 o'clock from the lab and who no longer gives me polish vodka from the freezer. I have lived amicably enough with Xavier for the past several weeks, saying bonjour et bon nuit, ca va when we come home and how was your day...but that was about it so far. Tonight was something of a breakthrough as far as Xavier-old roommates relations go; we had about 5 hours of hilarity, probably instigated by the Belgian beer followed by french Bordeaux, but nonetheless we all had a good time flailing around the appartement, learning new verbs in french, english, and russian, making fun of each others' pronunciation, and railing at Sylvie. It turns out despite the French Connection, Xavier is indeed on our team as far as proprietaire-coloc relations go; he seems to think Sylvie is as bizarre as she is, which is refreshing somehow.

And somehow in all the talk tonight, we got onto jokes that Americans tell on the French, on the English, and vice versa in all the combinations, even Xavier laughed about the trees on the Champs-Elysees (I warned him several times about being offended before telling him...). And apparently, quite unwittingly, I have only recently come to serve as the foil for Lara against all American stereotypes she has lived with/become accustomed to/internalized in the past several years, since she semi-subconsciously decided to boycott the US and all things American... my intelligence surprised her?!? I think I knew that all English people don't agree with the US and its actions in the world recently, but I didn't realize to quite what extent of contempt the US people in general are held. Lara I guess is one of the few true-blue Brits I know; Andrew has lived in Atlanta and Estelle is originally from Gabon, Trevor from South Africa... and apparently she thought I would be a right-wing warmonger insensitive to others and redneckish in the extreme... It is very natural to lump all people belonging to a group together, but I guess I have a slight shocked feeling - I didn't have such a set expectation of British people. It will wear off...and I guess I better keep it up, being un-'American'...

1 comment:

KEP said...

Glad to know you're being a good diplomat...the Fulbright org. would be proud :)