Thanksgiving night, we dressed up in our Sunday best and sallied out to dinner. My Vietnamese oven isn’t capable of roasting a whole bird (it’s a rather wee countertop thing that turns off after an hour, so you have to keep jumping up and running over to turn the dial again), so eating out was our best option. This year a lot of restaurants and hotels were offering Thanksgiving meals (drinks included) at decent prices, and that cannot be beat. Last year I didn’t see any special deals, not that I was looking - I mean, I didn’t move to SE Asia to not soak up the culture - but this year, the city and its people have totally embraced Thanksgiving and the absolute horror that is Black Friday.
After a server poured us some wine, I noticed a low din that was slowly getting louder and louder. I turned around to look. We were one of the first reservations (5:45 pm) but by 6 the place had filled up… with Americans. It took me a minute to adjust to the accents. Except for a small, small handful of people (I’m talking 3), all of our friends are Australian, French, or Vietnamese (or Canadian, or Macanese, or Cambodian; you get my drift). I work for Australians, so I’m used to that accent… but I’m no longer used to hearing the American accent.
I looked at Larry. “Dude. This is kinda freaky”. He looked around, amazed at the crowd, “Yeah… It’s weird”.
“Who are these people? Did they come out of the woodwork?”
“I don’t know, but there’s a lot of them”.
The more alcohol poured, the louder the voices. Nasally, drawling. Haw-hawing.
“Do I sound like this when I talk?”
Larry laughed. He’s from New York and speaks in a forceful New Yorkese. “I never thought about it”. He shrugged his shoulders. “I guess so”.
“God, that’s ugly. What an ugly accent we have”.
More wine being poured all around, including for us. Americans getting drunk in the background, including us.
“I’m afraid”, I wailed loudly. “I’m afraid of Americans. Where are my Aussies when I need them?”
“Not celebrating Thanksgiving”.
“Bullshit. They’re drinkers. They can drink me under the table”.
I went up to the buffet and got caught in a stampede of Americans. I quickly snatched some food haphazardly, tossed it onto my plate, and practically ran back to the safety of my seat. It felt as though we were on a field trip to another planet. We were one of the last tables to leave, as we waited for a large group of about 20, who were seated near us, to vacate the premises. The din slowly quieted down.
“That was horrendous”, I said in the taxi home. “Thank God for food and booze. I need a shower to cleanse myself of my sins”.
“I dunno, but I feel all grody now. Too many Americans”.
Here’s hoping you all had a peaceful, restful Thanksgiving.