God Lives in America

It has been a long time since I sat down and wrote anything here, life sometimes just gets in the way, but it could also be that I have just been incredibly lazy. And having to deal with all these offers of being a staff writer for major magazines can really take up a lot of your day.
However, thanks to those unending google searches such as “pippa’s ass” (and every variation of it you can imagine), people still seem to find this site everyday. But here I am, back to invade your inbox with some more interesting yet useless tidbits of wit and imagination.

A few weeks ago, I made a trip to the USA, persuaded to do so in part by the enormous good will of a family member (who incidentally made me eat lots of steaks and drink copious quantities of red wine) but also to see old friends and family I haven’t seen in very many years and one whom I would probably never see again. Filled with trepidation and nervous excitement, I packed a bag and headed off to the airport.

Now, I can’t say I was  absolutely 100% thrilled to be going to the land of guns and God. It’s not a place I like to spend a lot of time in. I haven’t been there since last century. I think Clinton was still the president then, and the nation itself was (begrudgingly) held in much higher esteem than it is today. To be completely honest, the place scares me a little.
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with it; mostly loving New York, California and interestingly enough New Orleans, and well, the rest is just a place you have to cross in order to get there. It’s a fascinating country for the most part, with lots to see and do, but there is a widely held belief (in the U.S.)  that it is the only place on the planet that matters. After all, God lives there. George W practically said so, and even the currency says “In God we trust”.

When I was writing this in Chicago O’hare airport on my way back to London, I had just passed through the most serious security checks I have yet seen in my life (I have traveled many places). Full back-scatter body scans, pat downs, probing question, face recognition, a god inspection…But I get ahead of myself.
Let me start with how I got here…

I was on my way to the mountain wilds of Montana, home of Yellowstone Park, George Bush voters and not a single minority. (I kid you not, I mean not ONE). On the first leg of this trip, I went from London to Chicago, and I had the breathtaking opportunity to listen in-depth to a group of traveling christian teenagers prattle on about Judas and the pitfalls of premarital sex. It was as if some Christian summer camp were on their way home from a tour of the convents and monasteries of Scotland and Wales. The noise was deafening, screeching and nonstop for the full 7 hours and 35 minutes of flight (as well as the 15 minutes we waited to get off the plane) The voices of this God Squad permeated any attempt at sleep yet was not 100% intelligible either (but what religious talk is?) One girl in particular was so squeaky and high-pitched in her wound up fervor about the evils of premarital sex, that one wished she would just do it, get it over and done with once and for all, and just relax for god’s sake. Repression is never good for anyone. I kept fantasizing about a mad crazed slasher jumping out of the galley and hacking them up like in some really bad B-grade movie where the “good” kids go bad and get their just desserts.

So maybe it was just bad luck, the exposure to that teenage force of God on one flight to the States. Perhaps just a fluke. Certainly everyone could not be so wound up about how god is watching them, listening to their every prayer.  One would have hoped so.

I had 3 hours to kill waiting for my next flight to take me from the Windy City to the Treasure State, so I went to the food court where there were 12 choices of “Chicago’s Finest” pizza, Burger King and McDonnalds. I tried to find a meal and a seat at one of the huge communal tables where people from all over the country ate their way through layovers. I sat at the only place where I could find a spare seat or two. Across from me sat 2 girls, probably in their mid-20’s engaged in a spirited discussion that was hard not to overhear. The conversation went something like this;

“So like, my dad was being like totally pricky, you know? And he said the garage was his, it belonged to him cause it’s his house and so, ya know, I can’t use the garage.”  This was coming from the slightly overweight one that for clarity’s sake, we shall call “blonde number 1” (please keep in mind the marked twang in the accent, as if someone was permanently pinching the mid-section of your nose while speaking, and try to utilize that sound in your mind as you read this).
“So what did you say? Where can you park your car?” replied blonde number 2.
“Well I was thinking about that, and ya know what?” said blonde 1, “I have been working for ages to buy this car, and then I thought, God got me this job, so actually if truth be told, well it’s actually God’s car…”
“So God will watch out for it” said number 2.
“Yeah, and God owns the garage too” number one declared.

How they got from point A to point B is a total mystery; I mean I was there watching this absurdity unfold, but I had to tune it out, for fear of having to interject my opinion (ie. WHY exactly would God really need your crappy Corolla?). I quickly finished my junk food and went to wait at the gate. This was all a bit spooky. I was still only in Chicago – and I was on my way to “Gods country”.

There was more. Much more. At the gate I heard a woman tell her child that if he didn’t stop being an unruly shit that God was going to be upset with him. At a cafe in Montana I heard two guys talking about how going to church regularly was one of the attributes he wanted in his future wife, and that his girlfriend didn’t believe in God enough (exactly how much, is enough?). And in the flight back, I heard a couple talking about how soon, God would “give the Muslims their due justice”.

To be fair, it wasn’t ALL God talk everywhere. People were nice and polite in that American way, like puppy dogs trying to please their owners. And I can understand how people might actually believe God lives in Montana. It’s a beautiful place, with mountains cutting through the skyline and weather that can change so radically at any moment one might think God is experimenting with climate controls. The people are for the most part helpful and eager to offer assistance (assuming they don’t know you are agnostic). There is loads of land, lots of open spaces. The Grocery stores are so vast they are like temples to food consumption, with whole aisles devoted only to pop-tarts. If god DOES live there, he certainly will not ever go hungry. Or worry about parking his car in one of the vast parking lots as big as 4 football fields.

So I have to wonder. Has God parked his Corolla in the Garage? Will he intervene to break up a possible marriage to the heathen girl that doesn’t pray enough?
I will probably never know, I am on my way back to London where the Queen is the head of the church and the word “god” is merely a prefix. Maybe there will be a TV program from Fox about it in the near future.

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