American Christmas Spirit
On Christmas eve I decided to take my family to Disneyland. The traffic to Anaheim was light, the line to get tickets was not bad, the line into the park was non-existent. I bought my three year old a Mickey mouse hat with his name on it. It was his first time to Disneyland and he was excited. All was looking good.
Then came the first ride. The line was a little long but we could deal. We are standing in line. Children are laughing and people are talking. Actually some guy was yelling. I start noticing that a guy two groups behind us in line is yelling "This is America. In America we queue up!." First of all I didn't know any Americans use the term "queue up". Anyway, I tried to ignore it at first.
It soon became clear to me what was going on. An elderly visitor to our country (Korean I believe) was attempting to pass the "American" to join is grandchildren (I assume they were his grandchildren) in line up ahead (one group ahead of me). In case you don't know it is common at Disneyland when the lines are long for adults to put the children in line first and join them later after getting a drink or something. Most of us just hop the rope or something. Nobody seams to mind as long as it is clear that you are with someone already in line. Well the elderly foreigner was not so nimble so he was trying to pass through the line to join the children who wouldn't be able to ride the ride alone anyway.
Now the elderly man didn't seam to speak any English so the children's father (I assume) standing outside the line was attempting to explain to the America what he was doing and at the same time speaking to the grandfather in Korean. The American wasn't taking any of this. He just kept on yelling "In America we queue up! You're in America". Then he started to mock the foreigner with faux Chinese "Ching-ching-ching-chang. We queue up in America. Ching-chong-chang. This is America". I was flabbergasted.
I turned around at this point as said something like "Come on dude! He is just trying to join the children up ahead in line." The person in front of me in line (between me an the Korean children) joined in saying something like "Yeah, that's right. They were here first". He gave me a quick look up and down. I couldn't tell if he was gauging my American-ness or determining if he could take me in a fight. Either way I didn't like it and was half expecting to engage in my first fist fight in this decade. He grumbled a complaint or two but the grandfather at this point had managed to sneak past. The loud American didn't say anything more. The other person that interjected and I exchanged glances. I knew we were both thinking the same thing: "This is why people hate us." Really sad thing is that this attitude doesn't stop at our borders. It reminds me of the time I was flying from Japan to Los Angeles on Korean Airlines and a American passenger behind me kept yelling at the top of her lungs "I WANT THIS MOVIE IN ENGLISH. HOW DO I GET THIS MOVIE IN ENGLISH?". Apparently yelling helps the Korean stewardesses understand English better.