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There are things that people of some countries do very well, and things that some don’t.
The Belgians, for example, cleverly installed motion-sensitive trash cans in public places, so that anyone who approached them would be met by a friendly voice reminding them to dispose of litter correctly.
Alas, the battery-operated trash cans had a tendency to slow down in wet weather (and Belgium is always wet), so passers-by would hear a drunk Jabba the Hutt begging for bits of paper. If this wasn’t off-putting enough (and what in Belgium isn’t?), failure to stuff something into the can would result in it continually screaming long after pedestrians had left the area.
Apparently, it was upsetting little children trying to sleep in nearby homes. It didn’t help that the cans were built in the shapes of popular cartoon characters but also rather badly, so the nightmares were multi-sensory.
Belgians are good at long-distance cycling, for some reason, and like to do it in the worst weather (note aforementioned wetness), ensuring that evening newscasts are filled with video clips of grossly underdressed men pedaling furiously along sodden farm trails. The whole country is thrilled by this, which makes it far easier for the average tourist to leave without great sorrow.
The English are quite good at various pies. However, the further north one travels, the more mysterious the ingredients become and the more dubious the origins of the meats. Eventually, just beyond Liverpool, one is resigned to lunch being little more than a bag of dark blood.
Meanwhile, in the sunny southeast, English kitchens are known for pies that actually contain fruit, and these have evolved into cobblers and crumbles, depending on how flaky or how gravelly the pastry may be. The more cobbler, the less likely one is to break a tooth.
The Americans, those hale and hearty continental folk, are frightfully good at things associated with leisure, mostly enjoyed from the comfort of a large and squishy chair. They include television shows in which one is reminded when to laugh, enormous meals and family celebrations for very little reason whatsoever, and cross-country road trips in wagons so massive that each seat requires its own audio-visual entertainment system (since looking out of the window at America doesn’t include a laugh track).
The successful American has managed to combine all of these passions in one, so the country may at any given time be criss-crossed by clusters of huge people feasting and shouting at films.
One thing that Americans have not done particularly well is design a universal type of bath shower that will perform the same way in any hotel or home. Whether due to inadequate water pressure or a poor understanding of water distribution needs over a person’s body, the American shower leaves much to be desired.
Shower head designs can vary from enormous mushroom-shaped things with swiveling adjustments to angry jet-looking nozzles, which means any hapless user is perpetually desperate for an operating zone somewhere between ‘tinkle’ and ‘murder.’
I do enjoy a good road trip across America, as it really is a beautiful place. Wherever I may go, I’m sure to be decadently fed and entertained, but I’ll either smell a bit or be heavily bruised.
Life is full of unknowns, and that’s what makes it exciting.