B&B’s registration is symbolic in many respects. Blonde is single and the main person who cares if she’s washed away in a flood or has her hair dyed brown by kidnappers is her sister and her sister is with her. Brunette has her grumpy husband and four sons. Neither the husband or the son who still lives at home, long past what should have been his expiration date, answer the phone or listen to messages on the answering machine. Eventually they would notice that they’d run out of food and begin to wonder where that small brunette woman who used to live there went, but they still wouldn’t take action to get the answer.
Regardless of the dubious personal value of registering we do it for the same false sense of security that many people with children once trusted their birth control method.
Last year when B&B went to Australia, we registered in advance with the STEP program and then forgot all about it. The only worrisome thing about being in Australia was constantly mentally converting what we were paying in Australian dollars to the cost in U.S. dollars.
Our vacation was concluding in Sydney. Blonde is the electronically enabled sister who always ends up with the horrifying bill for roaming fees. (Good things there weren’t roaming fees when Blonde was in her 20s or she would have really run up a balance with her, uh, roaming of a non-electronic nature.) As Blonde attempts to limit her fees she unsubscribes to mailing lists and does what she can pre-trip to cut down on the email she will be paying to download.
In Sydney there was suddenly a deluge in Blonde’s in-box (go ahead, snicker) of messages from some person named Sydney Warden. Who was this dude and how did he get Blonde’s email address? She wasn’t going to pay to read this guy’s messages.
B&B went out for the evening and returned to our hotel, the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney. Why were so many people clustered around a television screen and raising their alcohol-filled glasses? Aussies raising glasses full of alcohol is hardly newsworthy but the TV watching part was intriguing.
Blonde finally checked her email when B&B got to the room. She decided it was time to see what Sydney Warden had to say as he was continuing to spew out messages. Turns out that he was the warden for the U.S. consulate in Sydney. As is, Sydney Warden, duh. However, like many men his message was cryptic and emotionless. It said something along the lines of “Because of counter-terrorism efforts in Pakistan Americans are urged to watch their asses big time”. Huh? Hadn’t the U.S. supposedly been conducting “counter-terrorism efforts in Pakistan” for at least 10 years?
Finally even our curiosity was piqued enough to turn on the television and see if there was any news that could make sense of all of this. There was. It had just been announced that U.S. Navy Seals had killed Osama Bin-Laden. OH!!
We were surprised, proud in a way that felt sort of creepy and loved it that Obama had the balls to do what Dick Cheney must not have allowed Dubya to do. As the story unfolded and we saw that Bin-Laden lived in a poorly decorated room without even a flat screen TV on which to watch his porn it became even more gratifying. Then when they tossed his body in the ocean we were astonished at the brilliance and simplicity of the move and fearful that we might some day see him through our snorkel masks. Talk about sea monsters! We were also very glad we were in Australia and not in a country that might have sympathized with the dead sea monster. (To be fair we’d been glad about that even before Bin-Laden was killed.)
But why couldn’t Sydney Warden have sent a message more along the lines of “Hey, we killed Bin-Laden so, depending on your location, go to the nearest bar, announce you’re American and get high-fives and have people buy you drinks. Alternatively, go into hiding for, well, forever probably (especially if you’re a blonde with a big mouth).” That would have been useful.
The next day as we checked out of the hotel, shopped at the airport and encountered lots of other Aussies we were congratulated and thanked many times. It felt odd to say “you’re welcome” as if we had personally done the deed so we tended to basically mumble “yeah, we’re glad he’s dead too”.
Mostly we were dumbfounded to find out how smart and deadly seals can be. They always seemed to just want to swim and sleep and now it had turned out that there was a kind who could fly helicopters and seriously kick ass. How cool was that!?
All of this doesn’t bring us back to registering with the State Department for the trip to Spain but let’s pretend it does. Now at least the message sender would say “Barcelona Warden” which would even get dim-witted Blonde’s attention as something to read. Let’s just hope that the messages have become less cryptic in case we need to be armed with important information. Some examples that come to mind:
- Todd Akin is still allowed to speak
- Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen are having a tiger blood child together
- Prince Harry is visiting and keeping his pants on
- Your young son’s babysitter has been replaced by a priest and Jerry Sandusky
- Mitt Romney has your dog and is planning to take it on vacation
- Donald Trump is opening a chain of schools to train hairdressers
- Congress passed bi-partisan legislation that will improve something, anything, for the lives of more than two non-millionaire Americans
Only the last example, which is a far-fetched fantasy, could possibly lead to Americans being congratulated.
This just might be another time to practice our Canadian accents and wear hockey uniforms.