Superbowl Sunday

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…and I won’t be watching. Not to worry, it’s a big shame, but I’ll survive. The Giants/Patriots match-up takes me back to my Freshman Year of college and the really great time one of our floor-mates was able to put together. 4 years ago!

I spent the weekend in Madrid and although I had previously been reluctant to be a tourist, I took full advantage of those activities. I was on two bus tours and it’s amazing how fuller my appreciation for the city and history is. There is so much that I must learn. My Friday night passed just fine although I had an anti-American encounter that was a little startling. The individual was not necessarily hostile, but his opinions of the country were extremely strong considering his lack of logical argumentation. Maybe it was the alcohol. I think what stung me the most was the fact that he immediately personalized it all and directed his commentary toward my worth as a human. Ridiculous. We chatted away for a good hour and the positive spin to the story is that he did apologize at the end of it all and I think he recognized some of the errors of his ways. Hombre, speak honestly about my country and what you think, but do it with respect and reason. There are ways to exchange opinions which he completely missed.

It’s always amazes me how fast others can make impressions. The soul, in my opinion, is so infinitely vast (I will never in my living days understand myself) and yet we have a tendency to attach labels and petty words to people in seconds. That fellow “knew” me in two seconds as soon as he discovered I was American. Come on! I experience this labeling here more often than I would in America because I title of foreigner here. To fans of America I think this makes me something to the effect of some super-macho, suave, money-making cowboy who just kicks ass. To those less enthused by the country I think it makes me a minion of Palpatine’s Empire. 

It’s a blessing and a curse. There are times where I feel it to be a great privilege to speak about my own experiences and impressions of the country and 95% of the time these conversations are excellent exchanges. At worst I hear impressions of us as the nation of burgers and, seeing as that is somewhat accurate, it’s a laugh. At other times I just want to be Conor Byrne and couldn’t be bothered to speak about these things, but there is no escaping it. It is obvious that the American ‘brand’ makes a very strong impression on the people I’ve spoken to and it’s important to carry out these exchanges. For me, it’s more that the marvel, wonder, and illusion or hate and disdain seems like such a simplified, childish version of the reality that I see in the country. But it’s like any of us with another nation I suppose. And truth be told, I am starting to ‘get’ that awe of America because there is something magical about the country, especially when you see it from this part of the world. My defense of the country (although it was more a mini-lesson on how to conduct a conversation) was a pleasure. 

Let’s go Giants!

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