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Friday, May 04, 2007

Coming to America (The Queen that is)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is, even as I write this, encamped somewhere in the sunny Commonwealth of Virginia, no doubt quietly ensconsed in a 5-star hotel, and full of tea, biscuits, bangers, mash, pheasant, squib, and 20-year old Scotch whisky, snoring as only royalty can (with musical accompanyment). I suspect she is dreaming of the Arsenal's imminent return to footballing glory next year, being the full-fledged Gooner that she is, Lord bless her...it's either that, or batting Camilla about the ears with a croquet mallet.

HM is visiting America to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the oldest permanent British settlement in the United States. Of course, back then it wasn't called the United States, it was called "His Royal Majesty King James I's Special Royal Playground", at least by those who weren't still under the impression that it was actually India and the Chesepeake Bay was the Ganges at flood levels. The Queen will be quite comfortable during her stay, as long as everyone keeps mentioning that she's in the "Commonwealth" of Virginia. Unless she thinks it's state business, she rarely sets foot beyond Windsor these days, her annual participation in the Caber Toss at the Highland Games notwithstanding.*

Being the Queen, she's already embarked upon a busy and elaborate schedule. She's kindly met with some of the Virginia Tech survivours, lunched with heads of state, had pleasant encounters with local citizens, etc. Tomorrow things heat up with the Jamestown celebration, where Her Majesty will put up with all sorts of jokes about how she learnt about the town's founding when she was just a little girl. Then, on Saturday, she heads over to Churchill Downs to take in the Kentucky Derby. Good sport that she is, she'll be riding in the 3rd race on Lumbago**, prior to taking her seat in the makeshift royal box that is in actuality Oprah Winfrey's luxury suite. The Queen will sample the traditional mint juleps served at the Kentucky Derby...primarily as that's the only way they'll get her on Lumbago.

After the races, it's off to Washington, where Good Ole' Bess will spend a day or two with President Bush, mostly playing pinochle and exchanging jokes about the French. She'll meet with a number of different people, most of whom will bow awkwardly, eliciting a girlish laugh from the aged, playful monarch before she's hustled past them by British security.

Still, while Her Majesty is going to get to fulfil an old wish and get to see the Derby***, it would be nice if, in her codgerly years, she got to see and do some of the things that regular old Americans like us see and do on a regular basis. So, here are a few things I'd include in the Royal Itenerary:

  • Boring as I find the sport, take in a baseball game. After the U.S. national anthem she could loudly shout, "Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo!"
  • See if the tollways will accept British coinage
  • Hang-gliding in the Appalachians
  • Chili-dogs and lots of them.
  • Shoot some "hoops" in a local park. I'm betting the Queen "has game." However, you may want to explain beforehand that "shooting hoops" is playing basketball or she might think she's on a hunting trip.
  • Wear flip-flops and cut-off jeans to an official event.
  • Tube-skiing in the Metro. It's not legal in Britain, apparently.
  • When in Kentucky, one must have Kentucky Fried Chicken. Oh, I know they're all over Britain now (there's one in the Victoria Railway Station, of all places) but I can tell you from personal experience that it's not the same. Plus, you get to test two competing forces: "royal dignity" and "finger-licking good"
  • NASCAR. Again, it's not my cup of tea, but it would be a lark to see HM bantering away with Rusty Wallace in the ESPN booth about manifolds and how much horsepower the Royal Bentley has.
  • See "Blades of Glory" at a local drive-in cinema.
  • Karaoke night at a local bar and grill... Do a Beatles tune and joke about a "new British Invasion."
* She's a sprightly old bird for being 81 years old.
** See my previous point. Incidentally, she wanted to ride in the Derby itself, but she'd already bet heavily on it and apparently there's some sort of rule about that.
According to the BBC. I rather think she was talking about the upcoming Arsenal vs. Chelsea match.

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