October 17th, 2006

kusanagi: amused

On arriving in Los Angeles

I never thought I'd experience culture shock on returning home, but dear sweet baby Jesus, everything in this damned country is so freaking huge. I've never been overwhelmed by flying into LA before but looking out the window of a Boeing 747 today astonished me. The cars! The twelve-lane motorways! The containers of milk/juice/water! The people! By that I don't mean that they're overweight, although lots of them are. We're just...huge. Americans are enormous. And so effusive. I was taken aback today when dealing with cashiers and taxi drivers. Why is everybody smiling at me, I thought suspiciously, while failing to smile back promptly. When people say "Excuse me," here, they actually mean it, as opposed to London, where the tone of voice clearly tells you, "Get the fuck out of my way." The pavements are so wide, so clean and so empty that nobody needs to move aside anyway. The traffic signals change promptly for pedestrians and most of the streets take half a minute to cross, so no one jaywalks. Jaywalking is almost a religious ritual in London. I love it when I walk up to a pedestrian crossing to find that of the twenty people who are already standing off the pavement on a busy street, looking angrily into the windows of the passing cars, exactly none of them have pressed the button to activate the traffic signal.

The icing on the cake, though, was getting carded when I went to buy beer.