Culture Dash: to get away from the soul-numbing influence of television, fast food, and consumerism.

Photo by Mikael Damkier

After today, I can’t wait to sprint away from American culture.

I have decided to visit Europe in two weeks; I consider it a Culture Dash.

A Culture Dash is a rapid dash away from the culture of a country. This can be accomplished by traveling far away from the familiar.

You can go to Paris for a Dash, or you can go meet the new neighbors, or you can get away from it all inside your own brain.

This last type of purely mental Dash is a bit tricky, as it requires you to ignore important cultural icons such as Matt Lauer, Oprah, and the Bush family.

Why the urge to dash?

Recently, I spent 10 minutes watching The Today Show, and quickly found myself gasping for another culture like a fish out of water. In the span of ten minutes, the one person who spoke of the soul reaching its true potential and other issues I deem important was… Madonna.

She alone spoke sense.

The rest of the time, I was invited to play one of the seven video games on Today.com; note that more than 6 in 10 American women are calorie prisoners and secret eaters; wonder if text messaging is really the best way for families to stay in touch; and bid Matt farewell on his trip to discover other cultures while keeping up our manic schedule.

I was enticed to experience Chili’s Bottomless Express Lunch, including Big Mouth Bites and Kickin’ Chicken, with unlimited refills!

Leave It All Behind

After my Culture Dash, I will not need to Create My Own Combo. Bye bye American fries, Bonjour pâtisseries of Paris.

After my Culture Dash, I will sit at a sidewalk café under a bright awning, amid red geraniums. I shall sip a Bordeaux and nibble at soft cheese and fresh baked bread.

I will not need to Create My Own Combo. Bye bye American fries, Bonjour pâtisseries of Paris.

I have many options this day in America. I could carry with me Neo-to-go, to protect my kids from evil germs-every cut, every time, everywhere!

After my Culture Dash to Paris, I can view motherhood from the perspective of the French, who regard “the insane sort of perfectionistic and hyper-controlling behaviors” that American mothers engage in today as Perfect Madness.

Today I could practice the codes used in texting, so I could be a hip parent. God forbid I assume LOL means “lots of love”.

I have a sneaking suspicion my kids would much prefer to have me in the dark about their codes, no matter how hip I wannna be. GTG on a Culturedash.

Right this very moment I can whiten my teeth “anywhere I want” with Listerine White Strips, puckering up my lips at the gooey texture of slimy bleach clinging to my teeth, gums, and even lips.

Sitting right here at my computer I could rapidly develop teeth a person can see right through when I smile in a patch of sunlight.

Gotta Keep Moving

Photo by Alanishere

I want to Dash from the American obsession with perfection. I can’t wait to stride down the Champs-Elysées feeling irresistibly beautiful despite my varicose veins, wrinkly neck (which I feel bad about thanks to Nora Ephron), not to mention my dull teeth.

I live in Seattle. In my neck of the woods, there are scattered showers with low elevation snow expected in the next few days. The temperature is in the 60s right now on the Champ de Mars, the grassy, cushiony paradise I’ll sit on (post-Dash) while gazing at the intricate Eiffel Tower. Beam me there, Scotty.

I could contemplate Oprah offering the House of the Future, with features that have been in European homes for decades, such as toilets that take forever to flush, causing Americans to impatiently tap their foot. Merde!

Air France, take me away. In less than a month I’ll be at the Louvre losing myself in contemplation of Michelangelo’s perfectly carved marble male sinews and muscles (and rounded buttocks).

Another way I could spend today in the US of A would be dissecting the Clinton-Obama tussle . Hillary’s been looking refreshed after grueling weeks on the campaign trail, seemingly recovered from running the late night talk show gauntlet.

On the other hand, Barack appears visibly relieved that his pastor has finally catered to the hoards of hyper-analytical American voters by clarifying that he’s a pastor and Obama is a politician.

A Breath Of Fresh Air

It’s enough to make me admire Nicolas Sarkozy, who refreshingly refuses to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing unless China opens a dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

I wish to Dash this minute.

It’s April in America, and who can resist chuckling at the Today Show’s celebration of Earth Day. Special guests are the wife and daughters of the president who declared,“We need an energy bill that encourages consumption”.

When I am in Paris, maybe I will catch a glimpse of Sarkozy’s new wife, Carla Bruni who once dated Mick, a claim to cool our own First Lady can only feverishly fantasize about (compare the finesse of Bush’s softshoe routine on the White House steps with the sexy Jagger-esque strut).

Today’s examples of American culture are all buzzing around my head like a frenzied tangle of angry wasps: calorie prisoners, Big Mouth Bites, LOL, slithery Listerine strips, The House of the Future, Hillarack ’08. I want to flee-to Culturedash straight to Paree.

Will you join me? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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