55. Elvis has Left Building
Before I conclude, I need to say that the correct spelling of Minisota is Minnesota.
So here we are in O’Hare. We had a very smooth late night trip from the car through the airport to the plane. Just the usual sea of smiley, mostly black American faces. We were flying the very good SAS. Perhaps it would not come as a surprise to many of you that the closer we got to the plane, the better dressed the people started to become. As much as well-dressed Europe annoys me, it was so nice to see good looking people again wearing nice clothes well. I think the reason why Europeans have to dress so well is to compensate for the dourness of their faces. Having just flown around America where everyone was so happy, this came as quite a culture shock. Maybe they were just all sad to be returning home.
The flight was run with usual excellent Scandinavian efficiency, everything seemed to run perfectly as planned. No bags were misplaced, no big bags of peanuts were given, no one with an axe through their head jumped on the plane and no one sang us a song on arrival. Though I am sure that I probably ate some nice bread and cheese.
The flight arrived perfectly on Scandinavian time and we exited the plane in thoughtful, well dressed, meaningful silence, being very careful to avoid eye contact with strangers, let alone smile.
We were very quickly confronted by a long line of people waiting at immigration. I stood there in respectful silence wondering who had died, but took the opportunity to people watch. No one was indulging in frivolousness conversations, no one was talking about pumpkins, no one was overweight, no one even seemed to be praying. Just one short flight across the Atlantic and it was like everyone had grown up.
We took turns at going to the toilet whilst the other held our place in line. On the way back from the toilet I spotted another line with just three people in it. No track-suited business man had hollered over the crowd and struck up a deal to move things along quicker. Sharon and I discussed for a few minutes whether to take this line or not. Eventually we dashed for it and believe it or not, no-one followed. We were greeted by a stern individual who did not take my finger prints or scan my eyes. In fact he barely even spoke to me, he neither smiled nor called me sir. However he stamped my passport and let me back onto the Continent(157). This was it, we were back in the E.U, our adopted homeland.
It was morning, no one welcomed us or even seemed to care that we were here, we walked on in stunned depressed silence. Suddenly Sharon pointed at a sign. At last the Europeans in the form of a duty free shop had taken the liberty of hanging a welcome sign for us, its international guests and returning locals. And in reality this sign summed up rather tightly the differences between conservative quasi Christian America and liberal Europe. The Americans had given me a smiley face and a ‘Welcome to America Sir’ whereas the Europeans gave me a sign that simply read ‘Welcome to the land of seduction and sin(158)’.
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You may have noticed some bracketed numbers in this chapter. These numbers correspond with explanations and definitions that are in an accompanying glossary. To read the glossary you will need to by the yet to be released book. Sorry!
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