Yeah, that’s one thing I learnt in the States.
Let’s get through its first week’s lessons.
The passport controls were nothing special. I mean, I was checked like, one time in Warsaw, three times in Zurich, and nothing less than 6 times in Los Angeles (further on, LA). But all of them were routine. First check in LA was with a machine. «Not accepted, please proceed to desk number whatever». All right, but just in case «proceed to desk number whatever». Thank you, «but now go to room whatever»… each one was the same: passport, stare at my bearded face with glasses that doesn’t look much like my passport’s picture, “What are you going to do in the US”, “anything to declare in your baggage”, “are you carrying any food with you”, and all the questions that has made America popular. It was boringly predictable.
Then I go out of the airport. “Get out, go away!” Some people yell from the background. “Watch out, let’s pass!” Other screams worry me. A big car, as big as a tank, parks a meter ahead of me, dark glasses as dark as the big black jacked guys around, and Rihanna walks out of the airport and enters the car. The car drives away, jacked army vanishes, and everything continues as it was. Welcome to America.
The land of six lanes per side in a common highway, where cars as never smaller than a two tons tank, or, what they call ton, some 2.2 short tons. The land whose area is just as much as the whole of Europe in its broader sense, to the Urals, including a third of Russia. Where California is bigger than Poland, and having a car is not just necessary but socially required. I mean, not having a car makes you look like you fail in life. And there’s almost nowhere you can go without one; twice the area of Europe, with half its population, makes it for a very sparsely populated country where a person can allow himself much more space. Just Manhattan has a limited space being a tiny island, but the rest of the country can handle one acre per house and family. Which, one house after the other, and leaving some empty space in between, makes LA more than a hundred kilometre wide in longitude. And everybody having a car the size of an European house makes that a no problem.
We all know of the so called medium-size coca-cola in the McDonalds: one litre (however not proportionate with just standard size burgers). But the worst thing of this over-sizing (or am I guilty for European over-tightening?), is how they measure all of it. I’m OK with the pounds, and to an extent, I got over the miles. But what the hell is an ounce, or a feet, supposed to be?! Never got it. Fahrenheit? Who made that up? It’s just causing me so many misunderstandings when trying to explain that Spain is a warm place and they were like oh no let’s wear wool and goretex all over.
And the paper. Oh no. Thank you Germans for giving me my DIN system, where folding one paper by the bigger half gives you the next paper in the system, which most importantly keeps exactly the same proportions length per width. That letter was just 11 inches long just because carpenters used to have an 11 inches long forearm back in time. What’s an inch by the way?
Hey, I have to admit it though. That letter size sheet did indeed looked very elegant if used for, precisely, writing letters. No idea why.
Incise: Leon is telling me that Fahrenheit was a Dutch-German-Polish guy born in Gdańsk, or Danzig as they call it. Well thank you.