Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Good Old Acid-Washed Days

1987 was a really long time ago. We wore our pants high and our bangs low. Pop music jangled, telephones made real ringing noises, and no one had ever heard of the World Wide Web. (Or digital cameras, as you may have guessed.)

One other difference was that European people liked us. At least in my experience, the French did. French teenagers thought I was cool simply by virtue of being from the country that brought them MTV and Don Johnson. Adults seemed happy enough to have us around, too. I think they found the United States a little amateurish in everything from our embarrassing willingness to eat with our hands to our weirdly colorless politicians, but they appreciated the fact that the United States was willing to stand up for smaller countries, and that we too thought the English could be a little silly.

I don’t mean to imply that they hate us now in France. I don’t think they’re renaming their food or anything like that. (“Would you like Swiss Cheese or Freedom Cheese on your sandwich, Madame?”) But I think that on both sides of the Atlantic, we’ve all lost our wide-eyed appreciation for each other. I guess it’s inevitable that international relations, like all relationships, will change and mature. But I miss the salade days when we were all a little easier on each other.

I really hope my tea comes soon.

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