Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Birthright

People ask me how I can put up with a place as restrictive as Saudi Arabia, where not only alcohol but harmless pleasures such as dancing and music are illegal.

In point of fact, I was born for it: I grew up in small town southern America.



Alcohol was illegal -- a "dry county" as they say. We needed to drive to the county line to get alcohol -- there were two liquor stores there. There were a couple of bars there, also, and if you've seen the movie ROADHOUSE you get the general idea.

Dancing was not illegal, exactly, but it was kind of like the small town in FOOTLOOSE, also, in that there were a lot of conservative religious Baptists and Methodists who frowned upon it (and everything else.) We frequently got lectures in our schools about how there were Satanic messages hidden backwards in rock music.

Women didn't have to go covered or anything, but shorts and skirts above the knee were not permitted in my high school. (Except for the cheerleaders, of course. I guess their short skirts represented clean, wholesome athleticism and not drunken teenage sluttery in the back of cars.(

As large gatherings of teenagers at the fast food places were also discouraged (or actively forbidden) we used to congregate at various desolate locations -- cemeteries, the field next to the city water tower, abandoned isolated farmhouses, etc.



(Some of my friends and I used to particularly enjoy an abandoned slaughterhouse on the edge of town; this never experienced any more mainstream popularity with Average Joe Redneck.)

Things have changed a bit now, of course -- there are a few bars in town with private liquor licenses, and even a nightclub.


But the after-church crowds at the all-you-can-eat buffets look pretty similar. . .

6 comments:

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Small-town Wales or Scotland - much the same!

Timothy said...

I knew you were from the south when you once used the phrase "Slicker than owl shit". My relatives from Arkansas were the only other people I've heard say that...

Angielski said...

You defintely seem to be happy in Saudi but do you think you'll stick it there long term?

A year or two of detox in the gulf is one thing but the rest of your teaching career?

El Gringo Vasco said...

is he dead?

English Teacher X said...

a lot of teachers stay in the gulf ten years and then retire with $500 K or so. . .

jesterpr said...

I see why English teaching caught you with their singing sirens. I also grew up in a hole. I didn't stick in teaching (actually a mistake, believe it or not). I went to med school, failed out from the lifestyle and the depression of leaving ESL Japan. Then had to feel the pain of what it means to live with a black record in vindictive America.
I didn't think one could make so much in the Gulf. Can you give us a break down of that 500,000?