Since living in the UK for two years, the following I have noticed on going home:
1. Air conditioning at 70 degrees is really unnecessary.
Same for 75 and 80. I used to live in air conditioning, and now it’s purpose seems only relevant for anything above 85, when you are trapped in a room of computers and irritable persons.
2. Did I really drink this much syrup?
I think they pour oil into the drinks here. I mean, I think it’s called fructose and is of sugar, but it feels like oil. I can’t touch a soda, and I can’t even put a dent in the national drink of the south – sweet tea.
3. Burn, baby, burn.
I get, though do not fully practice, the need for frying oneself in the sun. Right now it’s about the hottest it got in Oxford, and I could find my fellow UK residents by the pinkish glow that highlights the white body. I find myself walking into, rather than retreating from, the sun. But I still wear sun screen, so take that, England.
4. When did my people all get so… fat?
This could be because I’m living in a college town, where the median age never really jumps above 40, but when did my people all get so portly? I haven’t seen this many waddling individuals since… well… never. Sure, Florida is a retirement haven (roadside hospitals and emergency rooms? Not. A. Problem.) and handicap individuals have their own floor for parking at amusement parks, but seriously? Could you people just walk a little more and drive a little less?
5. Commericals, consumerism, and a Disney PAYMENT PLAN?
I’ve forgotten about all….. the….. breaks….. that happen when you watch American television. I’ve forgotten that when a movie or a ride or a holiday comes there is ridiculous amounts of choice and type. (Example: Puppy’s First Christmas Ornaments. PUPPY’S FIRST CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS!) And wow, amusement parks have gotten so bad that even the Florida resident tickets – which used to be the best deal in forever – have a payment plan now.
Still, despite all my complaining:
1. I can walk into a store and look at things without being pushed about or notice wide gaps of missing items such as bread.
And I can do this both on the weekend and during the week, at 9:00 PM. OR LATER. And on Sundays.
2. If I want Tex Mex, I can get Tex Mex.
And I get it with nacho chips and American cheese. You know the cheese, the kind that’s made in a lab and formed into an orange rectangular block.
3. I can buy in bulk.
Which might be the main reason my fellow Americans walk around with so much bulk. Granted, those people can also store those bulky items in homes which believe in such luxuries as closets.
4. My car, it is massive.
As are the roads, the parking lots, the rest stops, the hotels. The size and scope of things is incredible. There is comfort in the feeling that things will never run out, or run low, or not be unavailable. There is also the wonder of just how many plastic figurines a person needs in their life.
If pushed to choose between the USA and England I really couldn’t. Both places have their wonders (and I’m from the south so the summer/warm/heat deal isn’t so bad.). Truthfully, living in England makes me appreciate home more, while being here at home makes me appreciate the lifestyle of England. Perhaps, when the ice caps melt, I can establish a US/English hybrid continent, full of mega-super-stores full of tea cosies and 5K runs through mud to get to each section. We’ll have Disney, but it will have a Queueland, where you queue for gawd knows what. And we’ll build homes with SUPER MEGA KITCHENS and teeny tiny little bedrooms. Where the bathtubs will need a stepladder and at 11 AM you run for tea, coffee, and biscuits.
Yes, I see it – my utopia.