A Fairy Tale and an Observation
27.08.2015 - 07.09.2015 0 °C
One of the least engaging groups of fellow passengers on our Princess tour have been the Texans. We began to get a hint of the fact that our Texan brethren were not desperately liked by their fellow Americans when we were in Alaska, well before we’d got anywhere near the ship!
Even in Oz, we have heard the term ‘as big as Texas’, and get the message that Texans brag about a lot (including the size of their state!)
So Alaskans take a regular pleasure in pricking the Texans’ balloon, by emphasising how big Alaska is, and how MUCH bigger than Texas. The Alaskans glee, and the smug smiles from other geographically located Americans, began to show itself quite early.
But it takes personal experience to understand the Americans dislike of Texans. It can be tempting to think it overdone, until you have seen first hand the sheer audacity of a Texan’s sense of entitlement. Texan Entitlement is so deeply entrenched that I doubt they have any idea. Privilege, be it given or taken, is often invisible to those who have it! And that’s the way they can fail to see how bad their behaviour can be. And so on it goes.
The list of Entitlements is broad and difficult to capture here, dear reader! There is entitlement: to be first in or out of anything and God help anyone who gets in the way of the stampede; to have the best of everything; to brush others aside like flies; to talk so loud (in that loathsome drawl – alright that bit is my bias!) that everyone within a 2 mile radius is forced to hear some pretty self-absorbed conversations; to take priority without a thank you or an apology or an excuse me; to be absolved from participating in society’s norms (like sharing a dining table with others while wearing the eponymous 10-gallon hat (oh yes believe me they do!) etc etc
So we had pretty soon worked out the world according to Texans, and were not overly impressed.
However, I promised you a story about a Princess and so you shall have one!
You see dear reader, it was at this point that we came across the Princess. She was on our first bus tour with all participants from the same cruise we were on. Previous tours had been a mix of different groups coming and going from cruises.
She sat behind us and eventually so did her husband. The bus was nearly full, but somehow The Princess and her Consort availed themselves of 2 seats each forcing others further back in the bus! This also meant they had both sides of the bus covered for wildlife spotting and scenery enjoyment which is of course the purpose of the exercise. (Entitlement anyone?)
This was the tour where we saw the moose. And so, there was much fuss about getting photos. Now the Princess was squealing with excitement cos the moose was on her side of the bus. Prince Consort was desperately trying to take photos with his inordinately long-lensed whizz-bang camera and failing abysmally. And boy was he shitty, just like a thwarted 2 year old!
The Princess on the other hand was getting photos with her phone. This was when we really started taking notice of these two as he “cussed” at her and she took exception to his use of “damn”! (Imagine how I could have blown her away, with just a few swift choice epithets?)
After overhearing this little spat, they were on our radar! Yes I am an incorrigible eavesdropper, and this had all the signs of fine entertainment!
Seeing this was going to be entertainment, I had to check her out. Blond hair, carefully coiffed, make-up, jewellery, and clothes that she clearly uses for her regular skiing activities. What else would one wear on a bus tour (in an old American school bus) in the middle of the back of beyond ie Northern Alaska? This woman shrieked the stereotypical Southern Belle, with that loud languid drawl appearing every time she opened her mouth. And she had a lot to say!!
At our next stop, there was the usual question about whether everyone was back in the bus. I thought I heard The Princess mention that the missing gentleman was potty. I thought that was a bit harsh, but gave it no more thought except frustration at the failure of my eavesdropping skills!
Next stop was really just a toilet stop as their aren't many toilets in Denali National Park (and the cruise party tended to a high average age –rolls eyes). It was then the Consort stood up and the Princess says to her Consort, in her best Southern Belle, “are you going potty?” (aka “gaw’in parrrty” if you’re a Southern Belle)
Consort agreed by taking exception equally loudly to her sharing this with the whole bus! We were FAR more aghast that ANYONE (even a Texan) would speak amongst adults about people going to a toilet (bathroom/restroom if you prefer) as “going potty”! And as my brain connected this with the previous stop, how bizarre that she would use the term about a stranger!
From that moment on, She became Princess Go-Potty (always in our minds with the relevant drawl), and the consort obviously the Prince. We made it our business to be as far away from them as possible whenever possible. And were horrified when, for a moment, we thought we might have to share a table with them on the 5 hour train trip to Whittier, prior to joining the boat!
And as all Fairy stories have to have a good ending, we lived happily ever after, avoiding them both like the plague. We prefer to connect with grown-ups when we travel. Not women who can’t cope with “damn” or “toilet” and men who can’t cope when their wife takes a better photo. Nor Texans, for that matter!
Talk soon! And no we weren’t going to blight the lives of our cameras with photos of the Princess or Consort so you will just have to rely on the imagery in the writing!