Sometimes I think the main reason to have a blog is to have a place to complain when things annoy me. Facebook status updates don't do justice to certain outrageousness, you know what I mean?
While in the U.S. recently I was annoyed by a lot of things, but I don't want to sound like I complain too much, so I'll list the things I like first.
Some things I like about the U.S., the South in particular:
1. Yellow squash. Can't get enough of it, and it's impossible to find here. (It figures, my number one item would be food.)
2. Lipton Pyramid Green Tea (Yes, the number two item is also ingestible.)
3. Warmth. Warm water coming straight from the tap. Makes hand washing nicer.
4. Chipotles. If not for the food, would I ever return?
5. Big parking spaces. Nice for food shopping.
6. Paper towels in public restrooms (not called toilets, I was reminded). Except for the new high speed hand dryers at certain train stations, the whoosh of air we get here just doesn't cut it.
7. Friendliness. It amazes me that folks are willing to talk to strangers without a dog nearby. (In England folks are quite friendly if you're walking a dog.) I had several conversations in the produce section of Wal-Mart.
8. Family. It gets harder and harder to say goodbye to the daughters.
Things I hate about the U.S., the South in particular:
1. TV. I'd forgotten how inane television is in the US, now that West Wing is no longer shown. The "talking head" style of news coverage is particularly stupefying. See:
2. Nancy Grace. God I hate that woman.
3. Physicians who think they're gods. And refuse to divulge their information to mere mortals, i.e. patients. "You sit down and we shine a light in your eyes" is not a proper description of a surgical procedure.
4. Stupidity. Which leads to number 3.
5. Bugs. Giant cockroaches. Little cockroaches. And the need to kill them with strong chemicals.
6. No green grass in the winter. Our grass is green here, despite a week of snow before I left. I love me some green grass.
7. Giant American cars. Couldn't believe some of the monstrosities, still on the road after decades.
8. Poverty. Living in Northern Europe, one forgets there is such abject poverty amidst the wealth of America.
9. Southern accents. "Drops" does not have four syllables. (Okay, that one cracked me up when the nurse said it. Thank god she wasn't paying attention to me.)
10. Fast food. Competing scents from various hamburger joints are overwhelming at certain times of the day.
11. Traffic signals. Busy roads have dozens, at every parking lot entrance, minor intersection, etc. They make driving harrowing, I imagine, for European visitors used to sliding in and out of roundabouts.
12. No public transport. For my daughter, who can't drive until her eye is healed, it's inconceivable that there's no public transportation to her school.
13. No circular walks. People in England know what I'm talking about. Sadly, we went to a lovely lakeside park on a beautiful Sunday and found it deserted. The trail we took ended after two miles, forcing us to retrace our steps. How odd.
14. Preoccupation with missing white girls. See number 2. What is it with wall-to-wall coverage of people's anguish and dysfunctional families?
15. Bad grammar. Just stop it with the double negatives. And especially stop it while talking loudly on your cell phone.
16. Dogs that run loose. I don't mean at public parks, but in neighborhoods. Scared me to death when two dogs came up to me, barking, while I took a walk.
17. Certain food items. Did you know you can buy brains in a can? Somehow, this does not improve number 4.
There. I got it all out.