America Day 02 – Round South Bend

We are here in Notre Dame for a couple of weeks. The campus where we are rehearsing is in walking distance from the hotel we’re staying in so we have only got one big car between the five of us for this fortnight.

Three of us love to drive. We love it. We always want to be driving. Even when we aren’t driving, we are still driving. Noisily. Oh dear.

On the first day Kaffe made a rule that we aren’t allowed to talk about anybody’s driving unless we’re in the passenger seat navigating. On the second day he broke his own rule when I was sitting in the back with him. The driver’s seat is going to be coveted between three good natured boys that just… prefer to be behind the wheel. And are still driving when they’re not driving.

Neither Claire nor Katherine have shown any desire to join the mix. I can tell why not. “Put your left foot to sleep!” “This is how turnpikes work!” “Watch out for that car pedestrian dog tree chipmunk.” / “You ran a red light!” “No, it was amber when I went through.” “Not when the back went through.” “What’s that got to do with it – rules of the road!” / “You have to stop at the stop signs.” “There was nobody there!” / “You’re on the wrong side of the road, Al!” …

Yeah Ok. That last one was a useful one. I was so invested in the fact I’d just clipped the kerb and lost some alpha points with the driveyboys that I was in my backwards head worrying about losing driving privilege so I pulled out nice and smoothly on the left hand side into more flak, catalysing people in the back demonstrably belting up. As always there’s a kernel of me making it harder for me to do the things that make me happy. Take the first night drive at peak exhaustion, that’ll be the best way to guarantee they’re comfortable letting you drive lots.

This genial company have found a little good natured squabbleground. Frankly the best solution would be to give the keys to Claire and Katherine and have done with it – take all the testosterone out of the equation.

This company makes me happy though. For five very different humans we roll along very well. We still haven’t stopped working enough to appreciate the fact that we are in America. It’s obvious we are though – you just need to  look at the size of the portions. In England it’s polite to finish your plate. Over here, if you can successfully eat everything you ordered then the restaurant hasn’t served you enough.

We all got driven to a restaurant by Deb tonight, our company manager – we went for a shared meal at The Crooked Ewe. Deb doesn’t drink so she offered to drive us all there and for once we driveyboys weren’t squabbling for keys because alcohol was going to be involved.

We had incredible food in one of the many restaurants that brew their own beers. The breweries don’t have such a hold here as they do in the UK. So many restaurants brew on site over here, with huge custom made breweries visibly working behind the seating area. They smoke their own meat and fish too. And serve huge portions. Everybody had food left over. The Americans didn’t think about leaving food. The British apologised. “It was wonderful,” said Jono, “But I just couldn’t manage all the fries.” “Yeah you couldn’t!” responded the waitress in a celebratory tone. She’d have been disappointed if he had.

Which is all very lovely but WASTE. So much waste here.

We eat hotel breakfast with plastic knives and forks and spoons on plastic plates next to a sign that says “Make a green choice and skip room service for extra hotel points.” Surely washing knives and forks and plates is better than not letting someone turn your sheets over?

Anyway. Here’s a photo from earlier. Katherine takes incredible photos almost habitually when we aren’t paying attention. The knock on effect of that habit is that we will have a beautiful stock of memories.

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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