Last weekend I put on a plaid pearl snap shirt, tucked it into a new pair of blue jeans, pulled on a pair of leather cowboy boots, and topped it all off with a camouflage truckers cap. Why? Because I was invited to a party, it was an Australian backyard BBQ and beer drink’n afair, and I wanted to do my best to represent ‘merica. So in addition to my outfit I bought 12 cans of some of the most marginal beer I thought a country bumpkin from the U.S. would drink in Australia (XXXX Gold). The first response I got at the party was “Where’s your shotgun?”. This, so far, is the story of my Australian experience. Having a large beard combined with wearing plaid shirts and blue jeans incites questions of my relationship to firearms from most Australians. To be fair, if I wear the same “costume” in the states (which I often do), most American citizens would probably assume that I am a gun owner and perhaps an obsessive firearms enthusiast; I am the former but certainly not the latter.
However, while gun-owning-beard-grower is the category I am put in by people my age or much older than I am, younger Australians have a more deductive approach to categorizing me. The most recent example being yesterday. I left my house in the afternoon to walk over to campus, 7 young boys were throwing a cricket ball around and riding bikes in front of my house. As I walked outside, one of them exclaimed that I looked like Osama Bin Laden, and the interaction went as follows.
I said: “His beard wasn’t red, dude”.
Responding to the sound of my accent he said: “You should die your beard black then; wait, are you scottish!?”
me: “Not only are you likely color blind, but your ears don’t work so good either”.
as I walked away from the mob of boys, one of them shouted, “Oh!, he’s American”
I hollered back “Bingo!”
Since the accent didn’t initially give it away, I assume it was my poor grammar that clued him in.
I won’t draw any conclusions from these events with a half-hearted attempt to compare and contrast American and Australian culture. One of my 11 readers might take it too seriously. There really isn’t a conclusion to be drawn anyway, I might have forgotten about any of this, had I not decided to make a blog entry about it. So to end this entry on an unrelated matter, I caught another fish on the fly-rod here in Australia. It’s a Dusky Flat Head, and by no means large, but any fish caught on the fly is a good fish.