American Distraction (Have you seen my…?)

look before you leave

No doubt; Wal-Mart has good reason for this sign.

I found someone’s debit card in the produce section of Krogers. A Bank of America nestled among the bananas.

I’m beyond the point of wondering how someone drops/forgets their money like this.  I have assimilated well enough that I’m just as bad.

I wanted to ignore it (there is a dream time-slot at Kroger in the afternoon before the kids get out of school and the grocery store aisles are dotted with slow-moving old puffers – I can zip around them) because I was against the clock, but it was too big for me to walk away from. In the UK I could walk over/around the passed-out, the homeless, I could blinker out the lot of them, but someone’s bank card – that really touched me, that made it real).  My sensibilities are the same in Tennessee, so I take the card to the customer service desk, and I jump to the front of the line, in front of the lottery ticket and cigarette buying funsters. The clerk says, “I’ll be with you in a minute,” and she’s not happy; she thinks I’m just in a desperate hurry to pick up a pack of Salems. I waggle the plastic at her, say “I’m just handing this in.”

“You found it?”

“In the bananas.”

This is hard for me to say,  Bananas. If you don’t pronounce it in the American way, confusion reigns. I did my best. I could’ve said “fruit ‘n’ veg,” right? But I know better.

Continue reading


Conversations with Americans Pt.4 (The Sweetest Taboo)

Chick-Fil-A's signature chicken sandwich

Image via Wikipedia

Occasionally I spend my time teaching people marginally less “American” than myself about what qualifies as taboo conversation topics here in the United States.

Money, sex, politics and religion. Unmentionable, unbearable, to openly discuss the things that drive this country.

No, that’s not true. We can still talk about food, television and cars. We can watch celebrities prepare food on the Food Network and then drive somewhere to eat food. And while you’re there, you can have the “You know there’s an Applebee’s where the IHOP used to be? Across from Steak ‘n’ Shake?” conversation.

Continue reading