Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things I Found #3: It Takes a Village

Ha! Another essay from the writing class. I have no idea what the assignment was, but decided to share one of my deep, profound insights (aka Crackpot Theories). My immediate neighborhood, "BR Village," was its own little town before the city engulfed it. It still has a grocery, drugstore, post office, drycleaners, etc., so I can actually walk to many shops and services - a very rare situation! But times change, and more than half of the storefronts are now bars, nightclubs and restaurants. That was great when I moved in here 20 years ago; less so now.

I live in BR Village, a neighborhood that proves the adage, It Takes A Village To Raise a Village Idiot. Here in this tidy, Midwestern meat-and-potatoes town, what passes for counterculture flocks to BR Village, not because it is a bastion of tolerance or a mecca for free thinkers, but because it has a lot of bars.

I was strolling with my pooch, Miss Molly, through the commercial district not long ago. It was during one of our large sporting events, a sport that requires the "athlete" to sit in a car and drive around and around, many, many times. Driving in circles is so exciting that people come from all over the world to watch it. And so it happened that BR Village had a rather international flavor that night.

As I passed a group of drunk, raucous Australians, I thought to myself... hmm... is there any other kind of Aussie? They're loud, brash, boisterous and energetic, even in their 30s, 40s, and beyond. They can be obnoxious, but I think we sort of envy them ... they're kind of like the world's teenagers.

It occurred to me that perhaps we are not so much a global village as we are a global family.

Maybe France is the sexy aunt who smokes and shows too much cleavage and is also a little bit scary. Spain might be the sexy bachelor uncle who we want to flirt with... but not be trapped with alone. England might be the grandmother we don't see as often, who smells kind of funny but is also familiar and comforting, and tells great stories. Italy is grandma's sister, a no-nonsense old girl who's still beautiful, and whose cooking makes us moan.

Mexico must be our doe-eyed toddler. She's sweet, naive, entertaining... but we don't expect much of her. Canada is the nerdy cousin who we always end up hanging out with because we're close in age.

I think Brazil might be the cousin who goes to church three times a week but works as a stripper on weekends.

And who are we, the USA, in this global family? It's painful to admit, but we are clearly the world's adolescents, the pubes. We are also loud and obnoxious, and incredibly selfish and spoiled. And we think we know Everything with a Capital E, so we don't even have the sense to be self-conscious about how horrid we are. We are the family's spoiled brats. The rest of our family just grits its teeth and hopes we'll grow out of it.

But what about Asia, Africa, Antarctica, and the rest of South America? Well, I haven't had time to work out all the roles yet, but I think I'm on to something here.

Either that, or my Village just found another idiot.

No comments: