Let's get this right, I wanted a Bloody Mary. I'm at the airport, flight delayed (technical problems - apparently the loo won't flush - which means we were all boarded then kicked off again). I need a drink but in this country where everyone is happily killing themselves with sugar, fat and salt I'm having a real problem buying a nasty glass of wine, let alone a spicy cocktail. Can you believe it? I've left my bag with a friendly fellow passenger and jogged about a mile through airport tunnels to find a drink. No I'm not an alcoholic, but it's been a long day, it's 6pm and I just want a drink - OK? I get to the one bar in this ridiculously dry airport and they ask for ID. "You gotta be joking" I respond in my ever more American accent, "I'm 50 years old and you want ID?"
Ironically I just lied about my age, I'm three years younger, but you know what I mean. The cowboys propping up the bar chortle and tell me to "take it as a compliment." I don't, I'm irritated and I'm incredulous when they insist I jog the mile back to my friendly bag holder to get the required proof that I am only 100 years older than the legal drinking age.
I really mean it, this country is strange. It's nigh on impossible to get a healthy meal. Fruit is generally manky-looking, yoghurt always full of sugar, snacks saturated in fat, even the salads are covered with greasy chicken and fatty dressing - I really am not surprised by the obesity levels. I'll be joining in if I stay here much longer. I ponder this problem as I burn off calories jogging to and fro my glass of wine and decide that maybe the nice barman is doing me a favour. The problem is one can't get cross with these rules because everyone is really just so incredibly NICE and polite and thoughtful. Rules are rules and it's not their fault. You have to laugh.
Other weird things about the USA (from a Brit perspective):
1. War veterans are revered - they board planes first, get free healthcare, are supported on the back of ketchup bottles and receive many other perks.
2. Prohibition. As above, I get strange looks ordering a second glass in a bar.
3. Racism. It's endemic - much worse since 9/11 and in every guise. Everyone discriminates against everyone - just like the Indian caste system.
4. Friendliness with strangers - their mothers must have had other advice. This is great, I'm never lonely travelling alone.
5. Politics - seems most people don't care, but those that do are pretty set. Opinions seem to be heritage not common sense.
6. Nobody retires - they can't afford to. Which is why there is very little ageism and the previously un-politically correctly called 'Trolley Dollies' are, well, 'mature'.
7. Credit culture - if you have a bad credit rating you're done for.
8. Geographical knowledge - it appears nobody knows where anywhere is, let alone our wonderful home town of Newport, South Wales.
9. Guns. They love 'em as we all know but also travel across the country with them - I keep getting stuck behind someone checking one in as luggage on planes.
10. The huge size of everything. If it's not BIG it's not there: muffins, cookies, cans of lager and of course bellies.
Any other ideas?