Wednesday, July 27, 2011

For better or for worse

I consider myself quite patriotic, but believe me when I say my eyes are wide open as to America's flaws.

However, spending two weeks overseas gave me a new appreciation for lots of American ways. These are the moments I missed the U-S-of-A the most.
  • Paying to use a toilet at a train station in Paris.
  • Walking the streets of London with a handful of trash because they don't seem to have public rubbish bins anywhere.
  • When a guy tried to charge us for sitting in chairs in a public park.
  • Every time I heard about Henry VIII and his offspring and the disastrous results of passing on power by birth.
  • When I discovered that adultery against the king was considered treason. No man should have that kind of power.
  • All the castles still lived in or used at the expense of taxpayers. They're pretty, sure, and it's not like the White House is an unkempt shack -- but there's such a thing as excess.
  • Changing of the Guard. One good thing about a country that's only been around for a couple hundred years is that a lot of tradition just hasn't had time to be made.
  • Spending four hours in Charles de Gaulle airport, first standing because I couldn't check into my flight for more than an hour, than standing in the line that had swelled while I wasn't allowed to be in it, then standing around my gate because they don't have enough seats.
  • The News of the World debate that stretched beyond lawbreaking, which should be punished, into investigating the media just because they're the media. God save the First Amendment.
On the flip side, the moments I missed it the least:
  • Driving past the Arsenal soccer stadium, which is bigger than professional football stadiums.
  • Also, seeing souvenir shops filled with soccer jerseys and other paraphernalia and realizing no one here cared about baseball or the NFL and NBA lockouts.
  • Taking the train to places instead of driving everywhere because it's the only available option.
  • Watching the ocean in Edinburgh.
  • Walking past Aston Martins, Rolls Royces and Ferraris on the street. BMW is a normal car over there. Their taxis are Mercedes.
  • When the reasonably attractive guy sitting next to me at a theatre struck up a conversation based solely on my American accent.
  • Eating chocolate mousse.
  • Sitting in the hotel lobby watching a soccer game surrounded by other people, from different countries, who just like soccer.
  • Seeing men in kilts. Who knew?


  1. Jennifer McIntyreAugust 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    I would argue that Queen Eliabeth was a very good ruler and tried to do what was best for her country.

  2. Queen Elizabeth executed Mary of Scots for treason, which, short of execution, is exactly what her sister Mary did to Elizabeth. And she was freakishly paranoid. She may have had good qualities as queen. But I wouldn't have wanted to be British under her.