My sister is a very intelligent woman. She is sophisticated. She is well educated. She is a force to be reckoned with.
And she has absolutely appalling taste in television.
I mean awful.
I mean she is one of those people who watch those “Housewives of . . .” programmes.
I stumbled across one of those shows one time. One of those fly-on-the-wall ‘real’ housewives shows, and I wondered who on earth, who in their right mind would watch this sort of shite.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, my sister. My beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated sister.
Of course, my beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated sister is also flat out terrifying, so, when she tells me to check out a programme on television, I do not tell her to her face that I think these programmes are total, complete, and utter shite. No, I say: ‘Oh, okay. Is that good? I always wondered. I’ll check it out sometime.’
And, so complete is my fear of this woman – this woman who is a full two inches shorter than I am and probably a good twenty pounds lighter – that I do, in fact, check out these shows, lest she present me with a pop quiz at a later date.
So, this morning, it was Ladies of London. . . .
You know, sometimes I’m delighted when televisual programming makes the leap across the pond; other times, not so much. . . .
Anyway, this morning, it was Ladies of London. . . .
I expect you’ve been around enough to have an idea of the style, topics, and format, but, in case not: it appears that this particular show ‘follows’ a group of women living in London (see, get it, ‘ladies’ in London. . .). Some of these ‘ladies’ are British, and some are American. So, you see, it’s sort of like an anthropological study of culture and feminism.
I was sort of sucked in, though. Not least because watching this took me back to my earliest days in the UK.
I was working with one of those big American banks that likes to call itself ‘global’ but is in fact American and only American, and, while the team was European, the ‘power-players’ were the Americans. Loud and confident and in control.
Like the ‘ladies’ in this programme, they all lived in Kensington. Now, Kensington is lovely. It’s a very nice place. And there are very nice people who live there. I have good friends who live there – I adore them. But Kensington is not London. Kensington is a teeny, tiny neighbourhood in a vast city.
And, it’s full of Americans.
When I arrived here, I had had over 25 years of ‘being American’. I knew how to be American. I thought I did, anyway. I didn’t want to surround myself with other Americans in Kensington. (Of course, there’s also the fact that I’ve never felt comfortable around wealthy people or people who want to be wealthy, but, that’s probably a ramble for another day. . . .)
And, so I didn’t. I didn’t live in Kensington surrounded by Americans. I went south and east and north. To the dirty, grimy, ‘urban’ bits. Definitely not the American bits. And it was grand and I loved it and it’s a city that will never leave my blood. (And, that also, I am certain, is a ramble for another day. . . .)
But, here’s a funny thing. Today’s episode of Ladies in London also reminded that, like it or not, I’m also a wee bit like these ‘ladies’ of London. You see, today was all about the Americans trying to prepare for Thanksgiving.
That holiday that means absolutely everything to Americans and not a single thing to most of the rest of the world.
And that not only takes me back to my earliest days, but also brings me to my most recent days. To every single year November time.
And, while these ‘ladies’ in Kensington argue about where to have their Thanksgiving and while they divvy up the responsibilities – turkey, cranberry sauce, and, yes, of course, obviously, mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top – I will also be planning my Thanksgiving.
Not in London this year, but in Wales.
But Thanksgiving nonetheless.
Not a ‘lady’. No longer in London. But always American enough to dedicate a November day to being grateful.
And to sweet potatoes with marshmallows.