Life for me has amounted mainly to life here in Texas. I’ve traveled a little; I’ve been to both the west and east coasts of this country. I’ve seen large cities and small towns, oceans, deserts and mountains. I’ve traveled through several states and have met people from all kinds of backgrounds.
Growing up we had classes in school. We learned of a whole new world out there, with different cultures and traditions. We had learned how our country began; how it was discovered, how it was populated, and of the wars our ancestors went through to gain independence and equality for all who live here. Through our parents and grandparents we learned that, with the exception of Native Americans, our ancestors emigrated here from countries far away, most of which are separated from us by vast oceans. Other than what we have read, the pictures we see in those books, the portrayals on television and film, most of us will never know the places our ancestors walked, or converse with people who presently live in those countries.
With the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web, those countries are now coming literally to our fingertips. One of the most fascinating aspects of getting access to the Internet is how it brings the people of the world into our own homes. We can find out firsthand how those people live, what they believe, their customs, and their opinions of us. That is the focus of this essay.
One of my good friends, for the past two and half years, is a man named Steve. We met online in a chat community and become fast friends. He is 48 years old and lives in Essex, England, which is a county northeast of London. Steve is a truck driver by trade and a musician by heart. He’s sent me some of his songs, two of which he wrote, and in my opinion, he’s a very good musician, though he often says he’s not. He’s an avid Rolling Stones fan, and most of the songs he performs at pubs reflect this. This makes for amusing chats between us at times as he tries to convert another wayward soft-rock-loving soul into a Stone’s fan.
I’m not really sure how Steve felt about me asking to do my essay on him. He undoubtedly thinks I’m being very nosey, ‘nosey peep’ was the actual term he used, but he did consent to being interviewed. The only question he asked was if he had to be serious in his answers. When I asked him “Where do you live?” of course he answered “modem land”. I told him that didn’t help with my essay, and he replied, “You know the answer, ask the stuff you don’t.” And so our interview began……
It seems that America has a great fascination with Great Britain. We see British actors everywhere. We even have some British shows on television. Many of the stories covered in the news these days are telling of news of England, especially concerning the royal family. Why is this? I’ve mentioned this fact to Steve a few times in chats. This opens up quite a little debate. He says it’s only natural for us to look to them, as England is the ‘parent’ of us. I tell him that can’t be. My ancestors came from France and Germany. He gets a chuckle, and then starts to lecture on how America as a whole was started by them, and we made the grave mistake of wasting good English tea, to which I happily reply that it’s ok, because I don’t drink tea.
I asked Steve if he sees himself as English or British. English, foremost, he says. I then asked him what he enjoys about his country. He said he enjoys the countryside, with its quiet rolling hillsides, spring flowers and gentle smooth rivers. He enjoys the music, and the English ale, with its bitter but smooth taste, and he adds it must be served at room temperature. Somehow I think he was being extra poetic because I had asked him to elaborate on his original answer of “countryside, music, English ale”. He’s generally a man of few words, at least typed words, but when gently prodded, he can say quite a lot, sometimes sarcastically, but often humorously.
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