Archive | February 2012

Stuff Europeans Do #1 – Not Want to Live In America

Pierre or Pedro, yesterday.

Western Europe must be one of the few remaining places on earth where the question “Hey! Would you like a free greencard?” would be met with a disinterested shrug.

It is a truism that, while everybody hates America, they all want to secretly move there.  This is not the case in Europe.  While Your average Angolan/Brazilian/Mongolian man on the street would up sticks to Indiana quicker than you can say “J1 Working Visa”, the Pierres, Pedros and Piotrs of Europe would rather stab themselves in the eye with a rusty croissant.

It’s not that they hate America, it’s just that it’s not for them.  They like the fact that the nearest shop (although most certainly closed at any convenient time and only selling jars of cabbage and dried meat products when it does eventually open) does not require a 100-mile round trip.  And the fact that they have a community (except England) and a national culture (except Belgium) and free healthcare (except Germany) and it’s safe to walk the streets at night (except Tirana, Naples, London, Kiev…) are big factors, too.

Due to having been under The Communist Yoke for half a century, some Eastern Europeans still harbor secret desires to live in Ohio/drive a Humvee/get married in an Elvis suit.   However, this urge is far less pressing now they can move to Hemel Hempstead*, join a line-dancing class and eat at KFC, which more or less amounts to the same thing.

…Which makes us wonder how much any of them really liked America in the first place.  Maybe it was just that America was better than Stalin.  (Oh look!  Gonorrhea is way better than AIDS!  Go gonorrhea!)

Not that America is like gonorrhea.  It’s a metaphor.  As in literature.  As in books.  They’re like magazines only bigger and with fewer pictures of Zack Ephron.

Anyway, back to Pierre or Pedro.  They are happy to live in Old Europe with its social care, small cars, smelly cheeses and splendid churches.

It’s not that they hate America.  They just don’t need to go anywhere anymore.  They have already arrived.

*Hemel Hempstead is a town in South-East England, known mainly for being rubbish.

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