I’m not feeling the holiday flavour

Halloween is long gone and thanksgiving is not far behind us…but pumpkin fever is still strong in America.

Everything is pumpkin flavoured (flavored) over here:

Lattes, pies, sweets (candy), biscuits (cookies), cereal, doughnuts (donuts), yoghurt (yogurt), crackers, tea, cream, wine, cheesecake, bread, chocolate, tortilla chips, salsa, marshmallows, moonshine, beer, bagels, jelly (jello), pretzels, milk, pancakes, crisps (chips), cream cheese, ice cream, popcorn, almonds, oatmeal and lube.

Delicious ūüėČ

The thing is, it’s referred to as¬†‘Pumpkin Spice’, but it’s not ACTUALLY the flavour of a pumpkin. ¬†The worrying thing is, I don’t think many people here realise that.

“I love pumpkin!”, is something I hear a lot, but to be honest I don’t think anyone here knows what a pumpkin really tastes like.

I’ve asked many Americans if they’ve eaten pumpkin and the answer is usually “Er,¬†hello? ¬†Pumpkin pie?” followed by a derisive look.

Ah, bless ’em.

You could make a pumpkin pie from mashed carrot, swede (rutabaga), turnip or even baby food and they won’t know as long as it tastes like ‘pumpkin’.

So, to set the record straight, this is pumpkin spice.

pumpkinspice

And this is pumpkin.

pumpkinflesh

This is a vegetable. Can you say v-e-g-e-t-a-b-l-e?

They’re very different.

I HAVE eaten pumpkin and it’s nothing like the spice. ¬†If anything it’s like the bastard lovechild between a swede and a honeydew melon.

But less sweet.

This misrepresentation of a flavour bothers me and I don’t know why. ¬†I think America needs to have flavourings that are more representative of the fruit or vegetable it’s supposed to be.

Like grape.

 

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Buddha, broken legs and bell-ends

There are some mornings, like yesterday’s, that really highlight all the things I love* about sharing my train journey with people.**

It started with the loud group of lads who¬†boarded the train¬†at Gatwick Airport; five young, loud¬†examples of British testosterone…in shorts.

Fortunately I’d chosen not to sleep on the train that morning, apparently. It seemed I¬†was only closing my eyes for effect; of which it had none.

As much as I’m not a fan of loud people on the train having loud conversations with each other, I was willing to forgive them as it was clear they were at the end of their time together and were still buzzing.

We’ve all done it.

We’ve all been there.

What I was not willing to forgive was three of them sat at one table (randomly leaving a blank fourth seat) with their suitcases piled high like a massive game of duty-free Jenga, one sat across the aisle from them at the other table next to a man reading his book (with two remaining empty seats) and the last one sat three rows back behind my wife and I.

Where’s the sense and logic in that?

The train was practically empty, so why didn’t they just sit together?

Maybe a couple of them wanted to sleep?

Maybe they’d¬†fallen out and argued on their holiday¬†resulting¬†in that awkward silence the rest of¬†us were so desperately hoping for.

Nope.

They just continued to have their loud conversation across the entire carriage about ‘Natalie’ and ‘Gabriela’ and ‘Sam’, and who had added who on Facebook.

It’s OK guys,¬†feel free to be as loud as fuck because I’m clearly not sleeping and that bloke at the¬†table you’ve sat next to is clearly not reading his book. I think he’s more than happy¬†to just sit there and admire the pretty words.

As expected, their conversation was the usual inane recounting about specific events of their holiday, whilst being extremely vague.

“What about that bloke at that place with the thing who seemed to be in every bar; the one that thought he was black but wasn’t!?”

“Oh yeah!”¬†(said the other four, in unison)

Yeah? What about him?

Nothing. That’s what…nothing.

Soon enough the train started to get busier and the seats and aisles started filling with other commuters¬†also¬†discovering they didn’t wanting to sleep or read either, especially those who had chosen to sit in the empty seats confusingly left vacant by these flip-flop’d fools.

And speaking of vacant; these socially challenged pretty boys*** continued to buck the rules of public transport etiquette by communicating at top volume until their poorly chosen seating arrangements finally got the better of them and they (for want of a better phrase) shut the fuck up.

Ah, bliss.

This meant I could sleep.

But wait, no it didn’t.

You see, the woman in the seat in¬†front of me had this weird habit of banging her head on the headrest of her seat as she¬†spoke to her colleague. It was like she’d rest her head after every sentence, thus¬†continuously bumping the seat.

I’d never seen someone with the utter inability to keep¬†her head still while she talked.

It wasn’t a weird tick or anything, as I would never mock the disabled, but she just gestured a lot and then kept bumping her head against the headrest at the end of every sentence.

“That’s a really good point”
*bump*
“But maybe we should evaluate the business model further?”
*bonk*
“I feel we should raise the matter in the meeting this afternoon”
*donk*
“Don’t you?”
*thud*

It was non stop.

So why was this an issue for me? Well, being 6ft tall my knees were pressed up against the back of her seat, so every 2 or 3 seconds I would get a wake up nudge from this bobble headed bint.

I thought about breaking off my legs and beating her to death with them…

*thwack!*

…but instead I somehow¬†managed to¬†fold my legs under me like a contorted Buddhist and closed my eyes again.

As I placed my head back onto my own headrest I felt a weird, bumpy texture. ¬†My brain registered that it was actually the back of¬†someone’s hand. The man stood in the aisle next to me had strangely placed¬†his hand on my seat’s headrest, right behind my head.

Of course, with a whole network of handrails and handles to hold onto, it makes sense to steady your balance on someone’s seat; right behind their head!

Anyway, I jerked forward (as anyone would), turned to look up at him and, being very British, apologised.

In fact, we both did.

His was sincere.

just shut up

* loathe

** idiots

*** the sort of guys with a more comprehensive beauty regime than most women.  I swear one of them had shaved arms.

 

Jingle bells, Batman smells….etc…

It’s nearing Christmas, so it’s expected that there would be Christmas songs playing in every shop and mall in the USA, but this is where the Americans get it right.

It’s all songs like “Let it snow”, “Have yourself a merry Christmas” and “White Christmas”. There’s no sign of George Michael, Band Aid or (bloody, f’ing, frigging, sodding) Slade anywhere.

For this I’ll forgive them saying “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.