Thursday, 11 December 2008

Things America does well

So here's the sister post to the last one.

What America has right:

Private bathrooms. In people's houses, the majority of American bathrooms have cabinets which is really handy for keeping little items in, like towels. Also, there are power outlets, which are handy for, oh, I dunno, HEATERS and hairdryers and curlers and radios and....

On ramps. On a multi-lane divided highway, on and off ramps are very convenient.

Road signs. Except for slummy neighborhoods where the cool kids steal them, most streets have their actual name written on a sign, posted at every intersection, so that one can know, at a quick glance, what street one is on (or approaching). Also, the highway department has a standard method of signage, so whichever town you are in, you can be pretty sure that the major streets will be marked enough ahead of time for you to do something about it (like change lanes, brake, etc).

Tumble dryers as standard. Often, right next to the washer!

Central A/C. Sometimes, it just gets hot and you want to do something about it.

Parking lots. Just about every store has one, so that one can actually drive to the location of one's choice, park the car, and go in. They don't charge for it, either. I hope it's a long time before I complain about having to walk across a parking lot (as opposed to walking across town).

Electricity. America has a building code, so that every plug is wired the same way; every lightbulb and switch have the same wires and connectors. Also, we use 110 voltage which is less lethal than twice that, and all American plugs fit in all American sockets (except really old houses which sometimes have ungrounded sockets) - you won't find a myriad of plug adapters there. AND, every room has its own circuit so that if you ever do blow a fuse it doesn't turn off the whole house (and you are much less likely to blow one).

Garage sales. Depending on the town, you can stick a sign up in your front yard and thow a bunch of junk out on the lawn any time you want to.

Advertising. (another weird one to mention) Americans know how to get the word out. If there is an event, a sale, whatever, chances are people are going to hear about it. Stores have signs, which does clutter the view, but it makes it a lot easier to find them.

Restaurants. They're big, and there are lots of them. We only had to worry about getting a table if we went to certain popular places at 7pm on Friday. And even then it was a matter of waiting for a clean table, not a matter of them not having room for 8 people.

Churches. There are more of them, more choices. And since people actually go there and pay tithes, the churches don't have to resort to becoming a book store or a day care or renting out to the boy scouts to stay afloat.

(Disclaimer: on both of these lists I have resorted to a lot of generalizing. Of course not EVERYthing will be true of any country ALL the time. And some things are true of both, to an extent - I know America has radiators up north. And the list is by no means all-inclusive. I've already thought of another thing to add to the England list.)

Also, as I'm making my lists, I find that something I really like is conformity and standards, which is funny for a libertarian-leaning type like myself. Hmmm. I'll have to ponder that further. And there are a lot of issues I'm just not going to touch, like media and health care, because I don't have sufficient knowledge of those things. So anyway, I hope you all enjoy.


akitchenqueen said...

Health care in the UK is almost on the same scale as the US with the exception of the "walking back in time" feel, we have been quite satisfied with the hospital services that have been rendered to us. Oh, there is one exception though. Mr.Harris nearly starved to death when he was in the hospital for 10 days because they hardly had any milk-free food for him there. (17 lbs he lost!)I guess hospital cafeterias everywhere stink!!!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your astute observations, on both America and England. I know you will make the most of the best England has to offer, while you are there and come home with many, many wonderful memories.

Melody Plainview said...

And I'll be one of the first U.S. citizens to admit I take many of these things for granted, and often resent them (i.e., signage. I think our signs are an eyesore. In Hawai'i, however, billboards are banned. Too bad we can't all live in Hawai'i!)