Oh, Those Americans!

As I look on, incredulously, at what is happening with the royals in the UK, I am wondering why the prince made the choice he has done, and why the UK public is so excited about it. The woman is, of course, a wonderful example of how far a woman can rise from her USA-born roots and for that I feel she "done good". But what of her family? It's hard to imagine this woman's extended family hobnobbing with the royals and getting together for tea. They aren't wealthy people, although they clearly love their daughter with all their hearts.

From here, in the USA, the feeling I get is that the royals are trying to show they are just like everyone else. Regular family people. But they aren't. The prince is not a self-made man. He's not had to fight and claw his way to the top, leaving behind friends and family that haven't come up with him. His family is already at the top. His position, whatever it turns out to be, is secure. His only concerns, as far as he has expressed them, are that his wife can do the "work" of being in the public eye constantly. For an attention-seeker, this is hardly "work".

Maybe it's because I wasn't well over the thanksgiving holidays. I have been hedging between vegetarianism and veganism, and I wanted this my first all-Vegan thanksgiving. Since I wasn't with family this year, it was easy to prepare a nice, quick salad with corn grits instead of corn bread. The tofurky thing is for people who like to play with soy, in my opinion, although I suppose it's a good option for serving Vegan to a group.

Since I had some extra time on my hands over the holidays, I also decided to start working on a Reiki course I'm taking. I had done all the book studying and now was a perfect time to start practicing. Or so I thought. The course mentioned a possibility of flu-like symptoms or lightheadedness as part of the detox process. No problem. I can deal with a little sniffle, right?

What I wasn't expecting was full-on stomach flu symptoms, and dramatic stomach-emptying moments that rivaled a level of illness I hadn't experienced since I was a child. When I heard the news of the prince's engagement, instead of feeling exuberant, all I could think was...please don't make me start vomiting again. And this has colored my feelings about their relationship. Sadly, when I see their pictures together, it chokes me up. And not in the way it should.

It's not that I'm jealous. My family traveled quite a bit when I was a kid, and I lived in several foreign countries and numerous USA states before going away to University. I've experienced England in the summer. Even in June, I had to put on a jacket to keep warm. I can't imagine the bitter coldness of England in December. Were it me, I would be wrapped up like a mummy. So, no, it's definitely not jealousy. I wouldn't be in her shoes for all the coffee or tea on the planet.

I started my high school days in New Zealand; on both islands, actually, because my parents wanted the entire experience for our family. The school system, at that time, was very traditionally British in that it had three tracks based on language studies. You could study Spanish, French, or Latin, with Latin being the highest honors students. USA schools didn't teach Latin, so I was put in French track, being as I was an honors student already. My dad, who is from the UK, studied Latin in school, so there's no doubt where I should have placed.

Archie Bunker, that lovable working class bigot, was the example that New Zealand television chose to bring onto their "telly" from the USA. New Zealanders, at that time, probably envisioned all Americans as being from that sort of class structure and lineage. I got used to being called "Yank" and teased for my American accent, although eventually my Mom (Mum?) found a wonderful elocution (speech) tutor who helped me blend in a little easier. (I recall enunciating a beautiful poem she had me memorize; "The Listeners" by Walter de la Mare.)

I remember a social studies class in which, when the topic of "Americans" came up, the example chosen to illustrate our culture was "Song of the Juvenile Delinquents" (song title as provided by the teacher) from the Broadway musical West Side Story (the actual song title is "Gee Officer Krupke"). Along with Archie Bunker and his bigotism after school, Americans also got to be seen as common criminals during class time. It wasn't a joke. And there wasn't anything I could do about it, being as I was in a foreign country, which I soon found out.

I remember, one day, a teacher taking offense at something I said. She sent me, an honors student I remind you, straight to the headmistress. There I was, in her office, opposite a lovely portrait of the queen in her crown jewels (I believe she was wearing emeralds in the photo). I hardly remember what was discussed. She apparently didn't tell my parents, because I never heard anything of it. So, perhaps, the meeting was serindipitous. A virtual meeting with the Queen of England, based on exercising my American brashness and freedom of speech.

Perhaps, with the way we mockingly portray ourselves in our own media; our sitcoms, talent shows and so forth, it's no surprise that an individual who rose to a moderate level of fame while leaving her family and friends behind would represent the USA to a foreign nation. It's sad, though, and it does disappoint me. I feel, oddly, less enchanted with the prince than I might have been if she were just a bit more enchanting herself.

Perhaps if she were someone from a more impressive American family, like the women UK-born rocker Paul McCartney has wooed and engaged...if she were someone who more represented American leadership, like the well-spoken daughter of an American president...if she were, at least, an actress a little higher up on the chain; one who had already become a household name...she might have been a creditable mirror to Grace Kelly of yesteryear.





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