When I first came here to visit my now-husband, I couldn’t believe the size of the engines. Wow. Being used to a teeny-tiny Volkswagen Polo, Mark picked me up at Orlando airport in what I can only describe as a monster engine. Five. Point. Seven. Litres.
Yes. Us Europeans can’t quite grasp this uniquely American phenomenon, and the fact that a lot of Americans drive big trucks (‘lorries’, almost) has fed the Anti-American narrative of them all being greedy, lazy consumers who do nothing but eat McDonalds, shoot deer, and sit drinking beer while watching hockey or American football.
Well, I just want to clear this myth up; or give you a different perspective on it, anyway. Some people never want to be swayed from their spoon-fed cultural analyses, so I’ll let you keep swimming in your ocean of denial.
My husband treated himself to his big 5.7 litre truck because he loves cars and knows all about them. We’ll be driving along and any time there is any sort of vintage-y car beside us on the road he can recite the year and model of it. Bear in mind: in America the license plates don’t tell you the year of the car like the ones in the Republic of Ireland do. And they’re vintage; I’m talking cars from the 50s/60s onwards. He will just point out ‘there’s a 63 Corvette’ or ‘oh, that’s a 73 Pontiac’ as if everyone should automatically know this. The price of being married to a genius. He passionately denies his intellect when I tell him so now I’m telling the world instead.
That brings me to a little side thing: Education doesn’t mean smart. More on that some other time. ANYWAY, my point. He bought himself a truck because he works his ass off and boy does he deserve to treat himself. I have never seen anyone work so hard. Twelve hour days are a regular thing in Mark’s working life. Climbing through attics, climbing underneath houses, installing wires through trees, trenches, putting up with moronic trainees who stretch his work schedule out by hours, and so on.
Ever since meeting and falling in love with an American who defied all of my naive assumptions, I have become increasingly defensive about the American way. I especially cannot tolerate people on my Facebook page who I know have never even stepped foot in America and have the audacity to criticise it from afar.
Whoa, what’s happening, this was supposed to be an entertaining post and somehow it’s turned into a big rant. A bad habit of mine. I just see so many things that are rant-worthy. If I wasn’t so happy, if my husband wasn’t so fun, if my life wasn’t so idyllic, I could easily slip into permanent anger mode, what with all the craziness I’m seeing. All the stupidity, all the patronising moralists…blah blah blah and so on.
I blame it all on Facebook. Facebook has pretty much destroyed my love of people. I want to deactivate it but I also need it as a form of social media for various reasons…ok ok enough of this rant, I’m seriously digressing here.
Back to this post: my initial reaction to American vehicles was shock. I couldn’t believe it. I remember asking ‘why do you need such a big vehicle?’
I have since discovered the answer: we have transported a double bed (known as a twin bed here) and an entire sofa (couch) set in our magnificent truck. It’s a wonderfully practical vehicle. Also, my dogs arrived here in huge cages. I had to pay 120 euros to get a van just to bring them to Dublin airport. I remember asking Mark before arriving: ‘Are you sure they will fit in the truck?’
Standing outside Orlando airport on the day I emigrated (November 19th, 2015), Mark and I collected my luggage and then got trolleys, one for each dog cage, with my little babies Cookie and Leon inside. Two howling, anxious dogs who have been on a nine-hour flight needed to be brought to their new home a.s.a.p. I waited outside the entrance while Mark went to get the truck from the car park (parking lot). Well, I never loved a vehicle so much as when I saw the dog cages and all my luggage slide easily into it.
Monster trucks aren’t so monstrous after all; ours has been a real convenience and luxury, making things that are potentially stressful a breeze. As a result, I vow never to turn my tree-hugging nose up at big engines again.