In an occasion marked by solemnity and nervous hilarity, last week the cities of Ojai and Stornoway were officially twinned marking what Mayor Janice De KirkFitzMacCohenburgerski (America’s Miss Teen Melting Pot 1964) called “an occasion of immense cultural and economic importance to both towns.” Already an agreement is in place for the exclusive rights to trade sun-dried tomatoes and mutton between the two cities.
“Hahahahahaha!” Stornoway mayor, Mr Uistean “Big” MacAuley remarked upon hearing his Ojai counterpart describing Stornoway as a forward-thinking city with a great future ahead of it. “Oh, that’s a good one, right enough,” he added, guffawing mauvely.
Mayor KirkFitzMacCohenburgerski expressed the hope that the twinning would lead to a whole new era of cultural exchange, particularly for the young people of both towns. A young person, later told us, “Yeah, like, it’s a super-cool idea, furilla. These Scatch kids seem like cool, ya know? Gnarly. I mean at first I was all like, Whoa! what’s wrong with your teeth, dudes? But then I remembered that the Brits have, like, dental problems? And they can’t, like, help it? So I was all Hey man, don’t sweat it, my grandpa’s got the same deal. I heard it’s because of that Tony Thatcher bitch buying them Falklands from Northern Ireland so now there’s no money left to pay the dentists and’ shit. I learned all about that stuff in the World History class I had to take when Pottery and Navel-Gazing got filled up. Yo.”
While in Ojai, the Stornoway delegation are enjoying the hospitality of Rotary Club members who have opened their homes and locked their liquor cabinets for the week.
Mrs. Maggie-Aggie MacKenzie told us about her delightful experience staying with her host for the week. “Oh yes, a ‘ghraidh, I’m having a lovely time. The heat is a problem because I’m under the doctor at home for my varicose veins and I’m supposed to walk a mile every day but I’m chust not used to the heat, you see.” Mrs. MacKenzie dressed in a black wool skirt, thick wool stockings, her church hat and a frankly fabulous itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini bra top, giggled girlishly at “having her interview taken”, went on to describe how she “could never take a tan, I just go red and peel. A-woooohooohohohoho” she whooped, amiably elbowing this reporter off the sofa with surprising strength.
The twinning ceremony, marred only by a single small bladder incontinence incident described by Mr. John Jerome 88, as nothing really – hardly a dribble”, was hailed by all as a triumph. Here are some accounts of the day by attendees, in their own words, when asked what memories they would take away:
Savannah MacLeod, 15 (Stornoway) “Man, you can get Diesel here for washers! I think high fashion at low low prices is what makes America a strong moral leader on the global political scene.
Gerald Butler 63, (Ojai) “Well, mostly I’m just grateful to meet such a fine array of inbred people. I had my reservations at first, of course, but, I have to say, they’re really splendid ambassadors for the Scottish inbred community. A pleasant surprise indeed, especially after all the things I’d heard. I only saw one 11-digited person all week.”
Seamus MacCuish, 50, (Stornoway) “Amazing tractors.”
Sylvia Horborgenssen 49, (Ojai) “They’re just so cute with their little accents and all! I simply adore them! I wish I could keep one. I’m 1/16th Scottish myself, you know! They showed me a picture of their lil old Callanish stones, adn I said to Norm, didn’t I Norm? I said to Norm, we just have to get some of these made up for the front lawn. Cause it’s our hair-tage.”
Colin “Utter Bore” Morrison 38 (Stornoway) “Well they go on about California beaches and that but they’re not a patch on our unspoilt Lewis beaches and what about the rampant consumerism, eh? In my opinion this country’s got fat and lazy, too comfy. Can’t people be happy with just a lonely house, a madeira loaf and poor TV reception? Oh no, it’s “McMansion” this and “gateau” that. And the breakfasts! I mean who puts syrup next to sausages? No wonder America leads the world in childhood obesity…” (There a short muttering conference with with Miss Tiffany MacDonald, 38-26-36 (Stornoway))…”Oh. It appears that’s the Scots, but anyway that’s completely beside the point. The point is, the point IS, where’s the culture, eh? Where are the community bonds, the strong social fabric? It’s all I’m all right, Jack, out here. Nobody knows their neighbours, and why shouldn’t they have to when there’s me putting up with that old witch Peigi-Effie down the lane from me, with her, (affecting a falsetto) “Ooooh could you pick me up some milk when you’re in town, dearie?” and her completely fake multiple sclerosis. And why the helling hell can’t you get a drink anywhere past 11pm on a Tuesday? Land of the brave and home of the free, my arse. And another thing, what about the gun violence, eh? And being 26th in the world for education? There’s not enough long walks to isolated sheilings containing a thousand haunted memories, if you ask me. Not enough bitter weeping and rampant alcoholism for a healthy society. All this have a nice day rubbish. It’s so fake. So insincere. Everything’s just surfaces, healthy, happy, tanned looking surfaces. Everything’s so nauseatingly well-meaning. God I can’t stand it.” At this point Mr. Morrison had to be led away sobbing uncontrollably.”
Katherine-Anice Bolton-Macleod 29 (stornoway) speaking with commas and semicolons and words like “indubitably”: “What’s been most of interest from an anthropological point of view – I’m studying the subject at St. Andrews, you see – has indubitably, for me, been watching the interactions between the two cultures; examining the expectations, the accommodations made vis-a-vis social mores etc. Just this morning at the golf-club breakfast buffet (sponsored by Pammy’s Pampered Pooches), we had a very interesting discussion about how to make a proper cup of tea. Mr. MacCuish had expressed some dismay about the fact that the Lapsang Souchong he had been served was “bloody horrible” and “so weak it was nearly a fortnight.” This led to some embarrassment on behalf of the Ojaiwegians but, after Mrs. macKenzie produced some Tetley’s teabags from her handbag for everyone to try, there followed an interesting exchange of ideas on the practice of adding milk, whether lemon with tea was “poofy” and what was the point of iced-tea, exactly. Fascinating. I think we all learnt a great deal.”
The Stornoway delegation are in town ’til after happy-hour on Thursday, whereupon they continue on to Las Vegas.