Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walk Like an American

"Irish stepdance is considered a modern form of old-style stepdance, taught in the early 1900s by traveling dancers. The jig involves rapid movement of the legs while keeping one's arms at one's sides and moving sideways in sync" - From Now Public

Sam: Elaine, am I crazy? I just get the feeling that Dugan and the others are making fun of me all the time.
Elaine: Well, You might wanna think about...maybe, eh...moving your arms a little when you walk.
Sam: My arms?
Elaine: You know, sort of swing them, so your not lurching around like a caveman. - From Seinfeld Scripts, "Summer of George"

New York Kids on 60th
I was walking home one night last week when I suddenly noticed something seemingly different about myself. About the way I was walking. I was swinging my arms. I mean really swinging.

"Hang on!" my inner voice screeched. "What's happening here?"

Because you see I was walking like an American. When could this have happened? It must have crept up on me when I wasn't looking.

When I first arrived here in America, one of the things that stood out to me was the way Americans walked, swinging their arms up until they are horizontal to the ground, and then swinging them back 270 degrees.

This was new to me. I walked like an Australian. No swinging of arms. I suppose we Australians must look like Irish jiggers, bobbing along cork-like, arms to our sides. Unless of course we are running, jogging or power walking. Then we swing our arms with the best of them.

I must have acclimated more than I had thought. I had realized that my Australian ways were fading when I stopped feeling weird when the airline pilot would announce, "we are landing momentarily," half expecting him to be true to his word, touching down only to take off again a moment later.

But maybe it's an evolutionary thing and Australians are walking like that now. I wouldn't be surprised as my home country is changing in so many ways. Last week we got an new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and I read that Ms Gillard doesn't believe in "a big Australia". "Big" must mean something other than it did when I was last in OZ. Of course we can't change the size of Australia, even momentarily.

And then this afternoon I was talking to an Australian in Perth. He said he was about to watch the soccer match between Germany and England. "It's over," I said. "Germany won."

Tourists in Central Park
(arms hanging down)
"No," he argued, "they haven't played yet. Right now Argentina is playing Korea and the Germany England match is after that".

"Nooo," I explained, "Argentinia will play Mexico today."

I checked my facts on my trusty iPad. I was right. Of course.

He insisted. "Not according to CNN sports," I told him. "Or" I was glad I wasn't using a PC - I didn't have all day. Facts were literally flying to my fingertips. "Or Associated Press," I added. "Perhaps I should check Reuters?"

All to no avail. He was sure he was right.

So with all this weirdness I would not be surprised if all Australians were now swinging their arms.

Just like me.

My name is Kathleen wng and I approve this message.


Anonymous said...

Ectually, I learned to stop swinging my arms when I came to the USA.
In the USAF, we were taught to swing the arms in a very small arc, not like the waist high swing of the AIF (that's oldie speak for Austrailian Military Forces)
Took a bit of time to get used to it, but I managed.
So it surprises me to learn that Yanks swing 'em high. Haven't noticed it myself, but I'll be on the lookout fer swingers of a certain age.

Jaded NYer said...

NY is known for it's large swinger population.

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