1. Driving down the interstate, I tuned into an intelligent debate on NPR about offering subsidised egg freezing to female employees. Large corporations such as Apple, Facebook and the Pentagon have been offering this as part of their recruitment package for a while but I hadn’t heard of it. Egg freezing is an expensive business so it’s a nice perk but as the arguments were tossed back and forth between the experts I couldn’t help but think it’s another signal that motherhood is a liability and must be managed.
2. Weird stuff like birthday cake flavoured bubblegum, bikini baristas (yep, no joke check it out), cupcake pancakes, gaps in pubic toilet cubicles between the door and the wall, strawberry applesauce, mid season breaks in serial TV shows, peppermint lattes.
3. I didn’t realise the importance of including state names when identifying a location until I had a conversation about Charleston with a friend. My Charleston was in North Carolina. Theirs was in West Virginia. It’s the same for Las Vegas (Nevada and New Mexico, Memphis (Tennessee and Kentucky), Gainesville (Florida and Virginia) and I’m sure there are plenty more. Not to mention the re-use of place names – there are 24 Washingtons. Confusing is the word.
3. A guy steps up to the reception desk as I’m checking in. He’s wearing brand new lime green trainers, low slung pants and an oversized basketball shirt. His cap is turned the wrong way round and I can’t help staring when he pulls a wad of $100 notes as thick as a Big Mac from his pocket. My life is much less colourful. I just hand over my credit card and I’m not even wearing a hat.
4. My name and the names of my nearest and dearest are not popular in the US. I know this because I didn’t find any of them on a key chain, fridge magnet, fake license plate or coffee mug.
5. I have nothing but admiration for the drivers in the US. With a couple of exceptions (I’m looking at you, Nashville) my experience was of courteous drivers who pay attention to the road rules and tolerate tourist drivers who drive the wrong way down one-way streets (sorry to the lady in the white SUV in Thomaston, Georgia) and don’t turn right on a red light. But don’t get me started on the rules for merging traffic onto a highway. Bloomin’ dangerous is all I’ll say about that.
6. To tip or not to tip is a question that generates a lot of conversation stateside. Most people do, it’s in their DNA whether they think it’s deserved or not, so it’s refreshing that a prominent restaurant owner in New York city is tipping this attitude on its head (pardon the pun). He’s announced a hospitality-included policy in all 13 of his upmarket restaurants that mandates ‘no tips’. He’s removed the space for tips on the guest cheque and he’s using space in his menu to explain that he’s increasing prices across the board and paying his employees more. So the question becomes, would you pay 20 – 25% more not to tip?
7. Coyote proofing your dog is not something most people have to worry about but if you do you’ll definitely be interested in a US$59.95 Kevlar vest with accessories: collar spikes, whiskers (like broom bristles) and radio controlled electric shock device. The CoyoteVest was made by a man who was traumatised after his little fluffy dog was taken by a coyote and never seen again and it’s one of the strangest TV ads I’ve ever seen.
8. Sense at the security check in Los Angeles airport. A nice offical looking man spent time explaining that they were using a new technology and it was not necessary to remove laptops from bags or take off shoes, belts etc. Pity most of the people in line weren’t listening.
9. Even after 4 months, I am still not able to pick a dime quickly out of the coins in my wallet.
10. The Santa Monica pier is a wonderfully tacky, cotton-candy filled experience but you can probably run faster than the roller coaster.
Categories: An American Adventure