If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

26 July 2006

Advantage, America: (Part II)

Cute guys who say "yes, ma'am" in a southern accent (even when I, disappointingly and suicide-contemplation-inducingly, find myself as the "ma'am" they are referring to.)

Tearjerking country music on road trips through the midwest ("I know you're going to break my heart ... just leave the pieces when you go").

Witty satire on television. (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert on a joint ticket in '08!)

Really good beer. Available everywhere. And particularly in Irish pubs. (Okay, this one is actually Advantage: Ireland, but America's knockoffs are pretty darn convincing.)

Cocktail Lounges. (With comfortable chairs and low, flattering lighting, where a server actually comes to your table and brings you beverages. Perhaps a little music even plays, low and quietly enough that you can still have a conversation.)

Made to order large lattes with skim milk and sugar free vanilla syrup that you can TAKE AWAY WITH YOU. I don't care what they cost, they make me happy.

The Geico Gecko. ("Pie. And Chips. For Free!!")

The fact that summer vacations have a long enough season that nowhere becomes a ghost town and all the beaches aren't crammed during exactly the same 2 weeks.

All the signs of a real American summer: Small town parades. Kids with lemonade stands and red wagons. Sports team car washes. Limos full of kids going to prom. Skinny dipping in the creek. Steaks on the grill. Hot dogs and s'mores at the campfire. National Parks. Roadtrips in the family car. Softball tournaments.

... which brings me to tonight. I find myself in Lincoln, Illinois (smack in the center of the state, turn right at the 379th cornfield...) at a Comfort Inn (oh, we travel in style!!). I have the last available room in the place, because the small town is full with exuberant 8 to 17 year olds participating in a softball tourney. I wandered over to watch the end of the last game, and got the perfect summer-night experience out of the deal: was offered a beer by the parents watching, the crack of the bat and the palpable energy of the crowd harmonizing with the undertones of the locusts. The perfect, anonymous, sultry summer midwestern evening. I caught a lightning bug and resisted the urge to squish him just to watch his luminescence on the sidewalk.

I hope THAT snapshot in my mind will be enough to get me through the 2 am running-up-and-down-the-halls and squealing of hormonal teenagers that I'm sure will follow. It will be THEN that I wish I was in a quiet Italian farmhouse on 20 empty acres. Travel necessity: earplugs.

5 Comments:

Blogger Jillybean said...

So glad to know you made it to your appointed routes safely. It was truly wonderful to see you.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi!! I am glad you wrote again before heading back to Italy! I wasn't sure I could wait that long to hear your stories. Tell all the folks we love that you see while on the road that I miss them too...UBlend, Dreamer, Joshy etc.
Love,
Unassuming Princess (I am becoming less unassuming as the months roll by...help!!!!)

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Summer said...

Lincoln, Illinois, eh?

That's only a few hundred cornfields from here.

Safe travels!

7:01 AM  
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