Monday, July 28, 2008

Three annoying things about the U.S. (that make me feel marginally better about having to leave New York)

Fitter. Happier. More productive
It is impossible to watch U.S. television without being assaulted by back-to-back ads for drugs of every possible description, promising to treat every possible ailment (and plenty of made-up ones, I'm convinced). They usually feature a good looking couple walking their dog on a windswept beach, talking about how life-changing the latest chemical money-spinner is turning out to be. It got to the point where I was finding comedy value in the awkward "silent" footage they had to run while the narrator spends 10 ponderous minutes listing the outrageous side-effects (using Crapulon may cause spasms, breathing difficulties, hallucinations, bleeding on the lungs, vomiting, and in some cases, your untimely death. Talk to your doctor today to find out whether Crapulon can help make a better you!).

How much food can one little island consume?
ALL OF IT, apparently. Lord, it is impossible to avoid all the food. Manhattan island is groaning with the stuff; piled high with great mounds of it, mostly of the high-sugar, high-fat, crammed-with-additives variety. It is a serious challenge to find a good, healthy meal in the city. I only survived thanks to frozen edamame beans from the Korean grocer, and even then, I spent a lot of time ill (one doctor even suggested the change in diet may have brought on the appendicitis). Order a salad and it will come swimming (literally) in dressing. The only thing to do is give in, and hope that the intermittent illnesses will bring your weight back down to pre-America levels.

If you do go down the path of least resistance, undo your belt a few notches and get yourself a tub of Häagen-Dazs Extra Rich Light Mint Chip ice cream. I know it is half the fat of regular ice cream, but trust me, you will eat twice as much. Also a pizza-pie from Grimaldi's (if you walk over the Brooklyn Bridge you will feel slightly less guilty) and a classic hamburger n' milkshake combo from the Empire Diner in Chelsea.

I'm sorry, I don't speak American
The Americans can't distinguish the individual members of the vowel family. The only way around this is to speak to them with a big old fake American accent. I can't tell you the number of times I had variations on this conversation:

Me: "So that's Kelly, k, e.."
Them: "k, a.."
Me: "No, k-E.."
Them: "k-A.."
Me: "E as in Elephant."
Them: "A?"
Me: "E, not A"
Them: "A?"
Me: "(emphatically) No, not A, E!
Them: "So...k-a?"
Me: "How about I send you an email and you can reply."
Them: "k-a?"
Me: "Bubbye now."

You want more flimsy anecdotal evidence? My friend Stu said no one understood him when he asked for a Coke ("You want cake?") unless he put on his best Texan accent.

* * * *

That's all I got. I could also go on about how unfunny the Americans are (glaringly obvious when up against their naturally witty British counterparts) - but when you take into account their inherent optimism, it's kind of endearing how earnest they are. I am excluding Jewish people here of course; they are funny as hell.

1 comment:

Maffy said...

Hehehahahohohehehe... Kinda reminds me of an episode in the Simpsons when Marge is trying to order a coffee in a pub somewhere, and the bartender said only beer, so Marge is spelling C, O, F, F.. and the bartender is spelling B, E, E.... hehe. I'm stunned how much trouble I've run into with "Anna" through my life.

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