America, I love you but… we need to talk.
Don’t get me wrong: I love America. I had the best time there and would love to go back, but at the same time it is weird. And what’s even weirder, is that America doesn’t even realise quite how weird it is. Maybe it’s time someone let them know.
Hey, how are you doing? It’s been a few months since we’ve seen each other and I think it’s time we had a talk.
First, let me say how much I love you: your food is amazing, your people are generally very friendly, and every state feels like a different country with its own unique culture and landscape. I saw a lot of you, but there is so much more I wanted to see.
Now, let’s get down to the real stuff. Firstly, why is everything (and I mean everything) in your country so big? Everything is over-sized: the roads, the houses, the cars, the personalities, the food, the buildings. I sometimes feel like a borrower when faced with an 8-seater ‘mid-sized’ family car or a six-bedroom house described by the real-estate agent as ‘modest’. And don’t get me started on the food! Who in their right minds needs over 3 pounds of pasta in one sitting? For $15 at Olive Garden I could feed a small family for a week and that’s before you even take into account the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking home a doggy bag and munching away for multiple days – but surely you realise that this is obscene? This goes double for drinks: nowhere else in the world would you ask for a small soda and be given something resembling a bucket with a straw poking out of the top.
Next up, sports. Now, I am not the biggest sports fan to start with: I went to see a couple of baseball games, and I enjoyed watching the Superbowl, but you will never find me crying into my chicken wings because that one player didn’t get the ball over the line. Even if I loved sports, I would probably still think the American way was a little odd. My second week in your country, we all settled in to watch a baseball game. ‘Hmm…’ I thought to myself ‘those players are a little short, aren’t they?’. And yes, they were fairly short. Because they were twelve. I can’t imagine another country where 12 year olds playing baseball would be shown live on national television and watched by adults from all around the country. By the time sports stars get to 18/19, they may as well be superheroes. College football players are treated more like saints than athletes and the idea that you can get into a good school on a scholarship because you can kick a ball pretty far is a bizarre concept to most of the world.
Now, what are we going to drink while we watch these sports? Well, if you are under 21 the answer isn’t going to be beer! Is there any other country in the world where you can drive a car, own a gun and join the military at least 3-5 years before you can drink? Not that I can think of. America, you definitely have a strange relationship with alcohol: some regions are still dry (meaning you can’t purchase alcohol there) and in most states you can’t buy alcohol in stores after certain times or on Sundays. Isn’t it my God-given right to drink beer at 9am on a Sunday if that’s what I want to do?
My final question is this: why is your money so confusing? For starters, it’s all green! Most countries like a nice rainbow of money, but a bunch of bills all look the same when they’re sitting in your wallet. Just to make things more difficult, all of your prices are wrong. If I pick up an item labelled as $1 and take it to the cash register with my (green) $1 bill, the overly chipper cashier will tell me that I don’t have enough. Why is the sales tax not added until the end? Are you trying to make us foreigners look like fools? It hurts my feelings to know that even your price tags are lying to me.
Well America, it feels good to get that off my chest. I say these things with a heart full of love, so I hope there are no hard feelings. Hopefully I will see you again soon: you may be weird as hell, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss you like crazy.
Lots of love,