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Miss Patricia


Gets Stitched Up O


ne doesn’t wish to criticize one’s beloved new country, especially


since back home one is choosing amongst cartoon characters for the presidency. This election feels like two steps back after the one step forward of finding our first black president. English people study his- tory to find wisdom. In the US, we just turn on the country music radio station in the truck. Why do they always say he’s


‘black’? Obama’s mom was white, so he’s biracial, just as Joe Lycett is bisexual, and as Lycett likes to say: “That means you’re ALL at risk.” Obama is actually the beige of our future. Is that good or bad? If it’s so wrong to introduce non-native animals into countries, why are the rules different for humans? I’m not advocating racism, or speciesism either: just wondering. Especially since every time the inva- sive North American Gray Squirrel is mentioned as a threat to the native reds, every head swivels my way as if I personally had brought them in my suitcase. But I digress! When ex-pats get shuffled about, setting up one of the 5 households they live in each decade or so, the


30 The American


new life is celebrated by a Lingon- berry feast at the baptismal trip to IKEA. My single daughter has been informed that all potential partners must first pass the IKEA test. It’s basi- cally bare-knuckle boxing with a gypsy girlfriend’s brothers. The IKEA in Southampton is


approached via Maybray King Way, which is, I am sorry to report, a noto- rious speed trap. As one rolls legally and contentedly along a wide, new- ish highway, suddenly around a curve, a 30 mph sign appears, and drivers new to the area slam on their brakes. IKEA shoppers are, by nature, often new to the area. The media revealed that this


camera generates the third high- est profits in all of Britain, but law enforcement officials explained to reporters that the money they are snatching goes to good causes so it’s OK. You might guess that I bring this


topic up because of personal expe- rience. And you’d be right. Para- phrased, events went about like this: Me: ‘I believe you’ve made a mistake here. The time limit for issuing this notice was two weeks. This alleged offence took place


five months ago. I believe you are demanding money I do not owe you.’


Law Enforcement Guy: ‘It’s your


fault. You moved, so we could not find you.’ He wrote this in a missive delivered to the address where he ‘could not’ find me. ‘And now you’re in BIG trouble, Missy, for not know- ing which of you was driving five months ago.’ Me: ‘Au contraire, my fine fel-


low! Here is my registered mail receipt from the post office showing that I promptly sent my change of address to the DVLA. And here also is my new driving licence, dated with new address proving my claim, and I’ve even demonstrated good citizenship by spelling it with the two British c’s.’ Pride of Southampton: ‘It’s still


your fault. You foolishly sent your change of address as a LETTER, which is unacceptable. The DVLA requires that you use Special Form V5C, which you are supposed to keep in A Safe Place.’ (Safe places are something that ex-pats do not have. Renters are forced to move whenever a landlord discovers that eviction could double his rent. Your


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