I am now in the land where Santa rides a fire truck giving candy to kids and dog biscuits to, erm, dogs; where banks are drive-thru, marshmallow comes in a jar and peanut butter comes on a cheesy biscuit; where the houses are sparkling with their Christmas lights and festive wreaths; where you can win $1000 for eating 105lb of meat, viagra is advertised on daytime TV and VAT is added onto consumer goods after you take it to the till.
Really, it's very beautiful here, and I am having a great time. Americans certainly know how to do Christmas.
On the flight over, I spent about 4 hours playing Bejeweled on the touch screen computer (a game that takes me back to the guilt-filled moments of procrastinating when I should have been writing my Master's thesis). I also watched some of the comedy shows on offer, and flicked through the 40 or so movies available on-flight, stopping at one called Post Grad.
Post Grad? Hmm, that phrase sounds familiar.
It's about a girl who graduates from university and finds herself unemployed and living with her parents. Oh yes, it certainly sounds familiar. Funny how I hadn't heard of the movie, but already knew the plot.
It's a truly terrible piece of cinema, with an ambling unfocused plot, neglected character development, and a love story completely lacking in chemistry. But there are some familiar moments - the misplaced confidence of graduation, the disillusionment when the degree parchment finally arrives in the post, the upturning of a life plan/the lack of life plan.
For some reason, I watched this movie not just to kill some hours while cruising over the Atlantic Ocean and floating above North-East Canada, but also with the hope that it would offer some answers to my own Post Grad questions. Why I thought that a piece of in-flight Hollywood fluff would be able to do that, I don't know. The main character gets the job of her dreams when her arch-nemesis is inexplicably sacked, and seeing as I don't hate anyone enough to have an arch-nemesis, I doubt that's going to happen to me. Back to the drawing board I guess!
A far more realistic depiction of post-graduation lounging and floundering is captured by 90s UK sitcom Spaced, which, despite its off-beat surrealism, is far too real to me for me to find it amusing any more. The Dole episode is too familiar to be truly funny.
After the movie I watched an episode of Hannah Montana. It was much more comforting and the acting was even relatively convincing, or at least entertaining.
I'm now getting my kicks out of trying to explain the uses of HP sauce to Americans (chilli-cheese dogs, fries and brown sauce is almost a complete cross-cultural experience!), visiting a Christmas tree farm, and out of sharing my Christmas traditions with another family, and long evening drives around the sprawling neighbourhoods to enjoy the Christmas decorations while listening to big band music and the Sufjan Stevens festive album. Even the bulldog ain't so bad.