Yes. I am in America again. There are a lot of men swarming around in uniforms and carrying guns. Even the baggage handlers seem to be packing heat. I feel like I have stepped right into a police state, which doesn’t do much for my confidence as i head to passport control. For some reason, maybe it’s all the run in’s I had with cops when I was younger, I get nervous around these characters.

Strapping a gun to a person’s hip makes them feel like demi-gods and they act accordingly.

I get up to passport control, and of course, I get the newby. He runs my passport through the machine. I hear a bleep. Not good. He tries again. Bleep. He turns to the guy supervising him, “What does this mean?”

Not good.

The supervisor looks over his shoulders. Then the questions start. Where have you been? How long were you away? Were you on vacation? Where are you going? What do you do for work?

I have a question of my own; can’t a man who is a citizen of a country that prides itself on being the land of the free, come and go as he pleases?

Eventually they let me through. And then customs have to have their go. Same barrage of questions. Followed by, “What’s in the bag?” “Just my rucksack Mr. I haven’t been home for 3 years and just want to see my family, thanks.” He let’s me through.

I had planned to catch the 7pm greyhound to New London, CT, but the hour was already late and there was no chance of making it downtown to the station, so I booked a room at the cheapest sounding place on the board. And they had wireless internet – bonus.

The place had promised on the adverts that they were minutes from the beach and minutes from Boston. Of course they failed to mention how many minutes. I asked the lady at the reception how to get to the sights.

“Downtown Boston is 8 miles away, so you’d have to catch the subway at Wonderland and go to the Aquarium.”

“How far a way is the subway?”

“About a mile and half.”


I take a walk to find some grub. All the usual suspects crop up, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, IHOP and then I spot an unusual title for this part of the world – Uncle Pete’s Hickory Smoked BBQ. As soon as I read the sign, I was hit with the smell of smoked beef roasting over a pitted fire.

Trips alone can be lonely, especially when it’s meal time. I sit alone in this great big booth that could house a family of six. I am dwarfed by the the high backed seats and the bull enticing red cushions.

The menu comes. It’s an easy choice for me, hot wings, half a rack of Texas beef ribs with BBQ baked beans, and a mug of Sam Adams.

Again I am reminded that I am indeed back in America. There is a guy in the booth in front of me. I can’t see him, but the whole restaurant can hear him. He goes on:

“Awww man, this is incredible, look at all this food. That’s pretty good. I hope you still love me when i’m big and fat. I can’t believe this. I had to do it. That’s good. They slay me.” All the while he is ranting, I can hear him ripping the flesh from the bones of his rack of ribs.

And he doesn’t stop.

“You burping? I can beat that.” He let’s out a series of small burps, followed by one large thunderous throat rattling burp.

I take out my notebook to scribble a new itinerary. My uncle Harvey isn’t going to be around tomorrow, so I’m skipping Connecticut and heading straight down to Grandma’s house in North Jersey. I need to get my driver’s license renewed and then rent a car and use her house as a base of operations for the next few days. I figure, from her place, I can cover all of New Jersey that I want to see, plus shoot up to West Point and visit my old alma mater.

Loud BBQ man starts up again. “Honey, let’s go home and beat the kids senseless. Let’s duct tape them to the wall and just beat them senseless.”

I can only hear his wife mumble. “Mumble, mumble,” she says.

“She rubbed my dick the other day,” he shouts. “In the garage…I thought she was lesbian as well, maybe she’s Bi. She looks like she could suck the chrome off of a tow bar.”

The bill comes for Loud BBQ Man. “Tip, yeah I have a tip for them, learn to speak English.” And then he goes into a stereotypical oriental dialect., like out of a Rambo movie. I feel for the staff, who have been nothing but nice and accommodating.

“I can’t wait to get home and get my hands around this kid’s neck,” says Loud BBQ Man as he leaves.


  1. mlleglass January 13, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    loud bbq man….just…wow.
    wow. people are just. yeah. wow. i’m rendered inarticulate by loud bbq man.

    1. clay lowe January 14, 2006 at 5:06 am

      yes, i walked away rather speechless myself…and that was my first night back in the States after being away for 3 years. some things i miss about the States, others i don’t…


Leave a Reply