Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bucket List Pt.2: Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams: Illegal Alienhood in Manhattan

Note: If you're new to this particular feature (ie. my friend Big D and I's project to make a reverse bucket list of all of my past occupations so he can reverse-replicate my life) I suggest you catch up here and here .

So, I had absconded from Dunedin and its itinerant work and, after a brief sojourn in the Orient where my father was living, I decided to move on. But to where? I had had enough of 18 year-old solo travel and my gap year was coming to a quick end.

Anyone who has read this blog more than one time will know the obvious and logical answer to this question. Has there ever been born anyone with a more hearty love of the U!S!A! than me, Veronica Montebellucci?

Who secretly, and creepily, had decided that Astoria, Oregon was their personal Arcadia at age 10 and then later made a pilgrimage there nigh on 20 years later to circle the Goonies house seven times? Whose number one best memory is eating Space Dogs at the whimsically named "Lunch Pad" at Cape Canavral?
*Permission to lunch!

Who, in elementary school, purposely became friends with the American exchange student, Corey, who then invited us over for a sleep-over and then her mom was so nice (like a movie Mom) and let us have PANCAKES AND DONUTS FOR BREAKFAST!!

Who is heartily in favor of those 72oz Coca Cola growlers that they sell at the Maryland House rest stop? That's right, the answers are me, me, me and me.

This love of Los Estados Unidos runs in the family. My brother, Dr. Poobelle and I were essentially latchkey children, raised on a steady diet of American programs. Every day we used to loudly perform a duet to the theme song from Step by Step. Hell, when it was the height of "Cool Britannia" in 1990s Melbourne

Poobelle unapologetically wore Charlotte Hornets basketball gear when everyone else thought the NBA meant the National Bogan Assocation. He subsequently got rolled by some teenaged thugs from Frankston for his metal plated baseball hat. Sadness.

**It was a fine hat, to be sure, exactly like this one my man Vanilla Ice is sporting. On a side note, I'm glad Madonna seems to have dropped the zero and got with a hero here.

I believe that I have already mentioned the time we went on a 36-hour Dr. Pepper binge before it was commercially available in Australia and got to the point where we actually thought we were invincible.  In fact, when in Texas 7 years later, we made it a point to go to Waco, its pet cemetary and the Dr. Pepper factory.

* I didn't say we actually stopped there...

Yes, I am the preeminent yankophile and so I booked that ticket for New York Fricken City.

* Look at my city, doin' its thing!

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "New York is a sucked orange". Ralph clearly wasn't tripping the light fantastic in 1990s Gotham. If he were, his metaphor might have been "New York is a pancake-wrapped sausage on a stick". It was glorious. I flew in to the pre-revamped JFK international "airport" which, if anyone remembers, was like a dystopian wasteland. After being greeted with the customary berating by disgruntled TSA workers, I fought off a crackhead, grabbed my luggage from a pile on the floor, dodged something on fire and beat a path to Manhattan. On my first night, something marvelous and utterly life changing happened. No, I didn't eat my first 6-foot hoagie; I met The Manimal! While that's a story for another day, needless to say New York had delivered.

Now that I had found the Manimal of my dreams, there was only the pesky problem of how I was going to stay in the land of the free. I was on a visa waiver which basically meant if I didn't leave in 60 days, a pack of overzealous minutemen would come to my illegal Harlem sublet and deport me. It also meant that I couldn't be legally employed. Being 18 and full of good ideas, I decided the logical solution was to find illegal, underground work. Yes, I was going to become an illegal alien.

Next Episode: Nudity, Pain and a Capuchin monkey....

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