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An Inevitable American

June 2nd, 2010 by admin

In her new position as a Marketing Manager for the Department of Stodge, Winona is supervising two staff. One of them, a sonsy, mild-mannered woman, is half-time doing desktop publishing and suchlike. Winona had lunch with her Tuesday and found her pleasant, if opaque. Today she is having lunch with her other staffer, who is also part-time.

“Oh my God! It’s so great that they’ve hired you!” Jennifer half-shouts. At least, that’s how it sounds to Winona’s sensitive Kiwi ears. Because, awh may Gahd, Jennifer is an American living in Wellington.

“I’ve been here five years. We moved here to get away from the Bush regime.  My son Ryan – here’s his picture – he’s twelve and he loves it here. I hope you don’t think it’s unprofessional of me to just want to be part time but half of it is that this Department needs a real Kiwi touch, y’know? And I just don’t have it. I’m from Pittsburgh! I’m not even Native American – half Polish, half Jewish. That’s how I wound up working here, I ran into Nervberg at synagogue right after that whole scandal. And half of it is that Ryan is really important to me because since I had serious uterine fibroid surgery, obviously, no more kids, Ryan was four at the time so that wasn’t what we planned. I wasn’t expecting to nearly get divorced over it but Abe and I are fine again now. The move was what we need, it really freshened us up.”


“My husband!” Another picture.  A big beaky man. Jennifer seems to reach into Winona’s mind and strip away layers of politeness. “He’s huge by Kiwi standards, isn’t he? We both are! My hips! Look at you, you’re tiny!”

“Oh, but you have a lovely figure,” Winona breathes, and it’s true enough: Jennifer is busty, curved, with a bouncing mop of bronze curls. Her fingers flash with rings. Her charm is capped by her dazzling white smile, which makes you forget that her face is a plain cameo for such an opulent setting.

By the time they get back to the office, Winona is recovering from Jennifer’s torrent of personal information. For Winona has somehow managed to return to Wellington without encountering last decade’s influx of American migrants. If she had met a few more of them, she would know that Yankees often have deeply personal conversations with people they sit next to on the bus, and then blithely move on.

As it is, Winona decides that Jennifer is adorable, but she’s going to be a handful to manage. Especially if she goes to the same church – wait, Jewish…place – as the Department’s second in command.

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  • I’m not so bad. It’s my mother-in-law who carries laminated photos of our daughter with her credit cards and displays the photos to unprepared sales clerks when she buys something.