I just realized something that I didn't miss while living in the UK. Yes, I am Stateside again, albeit in a holding pattern of temporariness as we await the news from the new club - but more on that later. In the meantime, I promise to keep working my way through the endless notes I scribbled down in an attempt to capture the essence of living abroad. To whom am I making this promise? I'm not quite sure...but in case anyone is still reading, I'm still writing.
Considering the fact that I still have my faithful 13 followers and not a single new one for like four months, I'm guessing I might be writing for posterity sake at this point. So be it. Some gals have a therapist, others keep a journal - I have my currently mis-named blog. But Renee in the US doesn't rhyme like Renee in the UK, so I can't change it.
I digressed again. Sorry. Back to what I didn't miss when I was gone.
Just to explain how much I didn't miss this thing, I should first say that I didn't even KNOW I had been blissfully free of it for six months until this past Monday, when I was at the gym (which is a whole other story for a whole other time...let me just preface it by saying that locker rooms should be segregated by age so that I don't have to be all nakey next to the hot 20 year old with no tan lines.)
ANYWAY....so I am at the gym, working out with Husband, who graciously trains with me despite the fact that he has to adjust the seat and the weights between each set we do because I am on weenie weights and he is on grown up weights - not in a Hans and Franz-ish way, though...he's patient and supportive and rarely laughs at me. Back to the gym...so, the gym has music going all the time and has done an impressive job of not making it all "Eye of the Tiger" or "Gangster's Paradise" while I'm in there...it's always appropriate. However, on Monday, I just about broke my foot as I nearly dropped a barbell (okay, it was 7.5 pounds...I woulda cracked a toenail at best) as I struggled to cover my ears to prevent my eardrums from rupturing in response to the heinous noise coming from the speakers. Yes, it really happened like that.
What was the noise? What could make me want to run from the building, or perhaps fall down on the ground in a seizure like the lady who couldn't watch Entertainment Tonight because of Mary Hart's voice? (True story...check it out: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/14/weekinreview/headliners-all-in-the-voice.html )
I'll tell you. It was COUNTRY MUSIC.
I should first mention that my experience with country music is limited to The Donny and Marie Show http://www.tv.com/donny-and-marie/show/868/summary.html where Marie claimed to be "a little bit country" and Donnie was "a little bit rock & roll." Aside from just loving him in ways inappropriate for my age of seven years, I chose Donny's rock and roll. There was also a show called Hee Haw http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063908/ that my parents must have watched...I know I wouldn't have turned it on myself. But it was ALL country...bales of hay, overalls, missing teeth, and a weekly special musical guest like Tammy Wynette and Roy Clark. So those are my country music "roots" so to speak. I went once to a country bar in St. Louis...a friend of mine was into it for a while so my girlfriends and I would go...I was more into the $1.00 long necks, though. But one should not draw conclusions about life based on what one sees in 70's sitcoms...after all, was Hogan's Heroes was an accurate depiction of life as a WWII prisoner of war? Still, I have never been a country music fan.
So back to England, where the locals are unaware of this stuff called country music. How? Well, I can't speak for the entire kingdom, but in the north west region, there were no country music stations on the radio. There was not a country music tv station wedged in between my MTV and VH1. And there certainly weren't any pick-up trucks, cowboy hats, fringe of any sort, line dancing, or cut-off jean shorts. Am I stereotyping here? You betcha. But what I mean to say is that country music is uniquely American, and for something that is just ours, we sure have a LOT of it. Its abundance in our culture demonstrates how much we, as Americans, like to have everything in big, major ways. In the span of six months I went from living where there was not even a notion of country music, to a place where at least three of the 20 or so radio stations are country music...whether that's classic or contemporary or "all country, all the time" format. And this is Portland...there are places in the rest of the United States where it is even more prevalent. But that's the American Way...if eight ounces is good, then 32 ounces is best. Or, if you really mean business, get the 64 ounces.
When British people found out I was an American, they would often ask, "Why did you come here?" which implied that I left paradise or something similar. I told them it was because I had just HAD it with country music. No, I'm kidding...but the point in mentioning their "why?" questioning is to show that to those on the outside of America, we've got it pretty good. Even with Toby Keith.