The bald eagle.
A symbol of a solid country that keeps growing steadily despite the temperamental paradoxes. A symbol of pride, belonging, intrepidity, but above all a sense of resoluteness and determination.
A symbol of a solid identity that is tacitly approved all over the world, a one-way identity that built a huge and self-confined empire and that claims independence for itself more than for others. A symbol of fierce excitement, joyous separation, but above all a sense of bold yet naive disregard.
The American passport.
Every time people pass by holding it tight in their hands I feel someway jealous. Maybe because of its variety of colours or for the writing “We the People … Of the United States,” with the appropriate initials in capital letters, that awards emphasis on the sense of being part of a cohesive community, a piece of a puzzle that needs all of its units to be totally completed. And no one is ever left behind.
Well, I do not own an American passport thus I don’t really know how it feels.
Unfortunately, my experience as an “American citizen” didn’t really last long nor did it end positively, but I won’t carry on with this story any further. Thing is though, once you have a taste of the American lifestyle’s flavour there’s no going back: you can get addicted and I truly did!
Food! Food everywhere, at anytime…in enormous supplies! Diners, milkshakes, giant burgers, pulled pork, fries, cheesecakes.
Sport! Basketball, football – My best moment was at a baseball game while consuming a hot dog and a fresh beer.
And more… Long distances, breathtaking landscapes, amazing cities, super crowded pubs, welcoming people and – why not – beautiful girls!
My cousin Louis – American by birth, Italian by heart and almost perfect bilingual – and I were chit-chatting in a small nice pub in Baltimore with few pints at hand. We would likely be guessing about how to literally translate Neapolitan sayings (the dialect from Naples, my hometown) to English. A lot of fun indeed!…yeah, I mean, just for us…
Suddenly, we seemed to catch the attention of the two blond girls sitting on the stools by the opposite corner of the bar; perhaps our speaking loud sounded a bit awkward to them and they eventually understood we were not speaking English at all. Anyway. After winking at each other for a while, one of them would stand up and come sit next to me. Must say: she had a gorgeous smile!
Blond-haired, blue-eyed and nonetheless tipsy, she asked: “What’s that accent from?”
And me: “Italian! I’m here on vacation and I’m visiting my cousin here Louis and family.”
She: “Italian? Oh man, this is so cool!!! I think I know a bit of Italian…”
Me: “Oh do you?”
The story has a sort of happy ending that is not worth telling.
Look, this is not about being ignorant or miserable as people just make funny mistakes at times – I don’t blame the pretty Jess. This is about living in a stronghold-country that is not entirely separated from the rest of the world but apparently very far away. As a matter of fact, when most of interactions happen in your home-country why would you ever learn any other language?! Why would you endeavour to understand others when all others endeavour to understand you?! I’m not aiming to generalise a concept but – in all sincerity – still this is what it looks like from the outside.
Am I a victim of my extreme personal judgment or of a altered and dreadful point of view? Many would say that I am wrong on all accounts. But my thoughts won’t surely stop the earth from spinning around normally. Since, to be hypocritically honest, I’ll always long for America and never give up on this feeling.
What point am I making?
Point is what a wise man told me once, for how harsh may it sound: when you own an American passport the whole world eagerly becomes your own theatre. A theatre where Americans can act as stars while others just open and close the curtains.
And like eagles, Americans can see and fly the distance, high and mighty, over any border with unlimited freedom.
I wish I was American. I wish I was a bald eagle.