Tuesday, August 14, 2012
let them drink bacon vodka or observations on the current state of america
just a few observations from our time in the states. it's funny how time away makes what was once familiar seem strange, tho' i simply don't recall some of this stuff, so maybe it's new in the past decade or so...
~ there's a real obsession with anti-bacterial hand cleaners. in bathrooms, in the cleaning product aisle, on the dish soap, little purse-size bottles. apparently americans are really, really scared of bacteria. and i wonder if it's not contributing to illness and allergies.
~ there's a lot of fake stuff - especially fake sweeteners and fake creamers. i just wanted some ordinary half & half in my coffee and that was a rare commodity in many convenience stores, tho' 5 sweetened, artificial flavors of carnation wanna-be cream(er) were on offer.
~ waitresses introduce themselves, "hi, i'm shelly, i'll be your server." do i really need this information? do people actually take note of it and remember their server's name?
~ the lighting is really, really depressing in shopko, k-mart and even macy's. what's the purpose of that? wouldn't good lighting move more merchandise? how can these stores be so off on this important detail?
~ walmart's new logo doesn't hide that they're still pure evil.
~ enormous, chernobyl (as in possibly irradiated), giant fruit and vegetables - peaches bigger than a softball, same with plums and the leeks, as big around as my calves, i tell you. we also had a 50 pound watermelon. talk about having to pee after that...
~ only in the states could you overhear a casual conversation at the airport between two waiting passengers on the merits of the M16 vs. the M4.
~ struck by how people who have BEEN there, still pronounce iraq "eye-rack."
~ a shocking lack of recycling. i had a little shudder of horror every time i saw a bottle or can in the ordinary garbage can. this is part of why the US is consuming far more than its share of resources.
~ vodka that comes in bacon, marshmallow, cake or cookie dough flavors. i can see these are produced in france, but still, they apparently know what the american market craves.
~ direct marketing (long ads on television and in magazines) of prescription meds. man, that must drive doctors nuts.
~ no television show can be watched or enjoyed with any sense of continuity because it's constantly broken up with ads. i remember when i first came to denmark, it was agony for me to watch an whole episode of the x-files without commercial break, because i was so accustomed to the release of tension the commercials brought with them. now, i can hardly stand to watch television in the states. and don't even get me started on the shameful coverage of the olympics by nbc, i'm still not over that.
~ automatic-flush toilets. these possibly symbolize everything that's currently wrong with america, not to mention scaring the living daylights out of the user. apparently people cannot even be trusted to flush the toilet on their own these days.
~ interesting how with two acts of terrorism committed while i was there - one in a crowded movie theatre in colorado and one at a sikh temple in wisconsin - that i never heard them referred to as terrorism. it seems that word is now reserved only for acts committed by muslim extremists. if you ask me, both of those maniacs were also terrorists.
~ car design has truly gone awry. i talked about this a little bit after my visit two years ago, but it's only gone downhill. even old design stalwarts like mercedes have given up and started making what appears to be a chevy impala with a mercedes logo. it's sad, really.
lest you think i only observed the negatives, i'll be back soon with a list of positives. because there are also good things about the land of my birth. you just have to look for them a little harder.