House of Representatives


Our house guests just left. My husband’s brother and his good friend from Germany were in town on business. I like playing hostess. I get to set out the good towels and put the brown sugar for our oatmeal in a little white dish. But having a foreign visitor made me see our house in a whole different light.

You know when you visit a foreign country and your friends then look to you as the expert on said country? All of a sudden, you know what all Italians are like because you went to one discotech and had dinner with one local family. Now you can attest to just how bad the orthodontia crisis is in the UK.  Now you’re the authority on everything from that country’s health care system to their immigration laws because you stayed at a local B&B. I know I’ve pretended to have an inordinate amount of insight about socio-economic policies after one conversation with an indigenous taxi driver.

But now the shoe’s on the other foot. Now my house is the house that will represent all Americans to his family and friends back home! Oh no. I imagine the conversations will go something like this:

“Did you know that all Americans have piles and piles of miscellaneous crap on their kitchen counters all the time?”

“Did you know that when Americans knock off a door stopper with their vacuum and as a result swing a huge hole into the drywall with the doorknob, they go weeks and weeks without patching it up? Amazing!”

“Did you know American’s actually like stains on their carpet?”

“Did you know that all American three year old boys are obsessed with ‘Star Wars’ and all the adults are obsessed with ‘Lost?'”

I could go on, but I don’t want to. I just hope he saw America as something more than just cheap Levi’s and discount designer shoes. It is still the land of the free and the home of the brave. A land where anything is possible. Even immaculate counter tops and steam cleaned carpets!

I’m not sure if there’s much I can do about the ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Lost’ obsessions though…I think I’ll write a letter to my congressman about that.


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