I also don’t like the public toilets. The doors are short and do not reach the ceiling or the floor. They are simply stalls. They remind me of the ‘outside’ loos at Leasowes Junior School which the class of 1983 avoided using at all costs for fear of peeping people. I feel that same fear in the US (it has not yet happened but I don’t like the idea of being heard either). I am also challenged by the automation of US public toilets – the flush, the soup dispenser, the water, the dryer. On the plus side, US public toilets are always free whereas over here we may have to pay a small sum (more than a penny) to visit the micturition station.

Sitting in the stalls

Sitting in the stalls

The hotel rooms make full use of mirrors

Every hotel I have stayed in, in the US, has contained lots of mirrors: in the lobby, in the lift, in the hotel room and in the hotel room toilet. I don’t really enjoy seeing my naked self or my naked bottom perched on the funny toilet (see above).

My photographing the big mirror

My photographing the big mirror

You can’t just have a bagel

This applies to coffee, bagels, pizza and in fact almost any food stuffs. I have quite simple needs in the morning: a coffee and a bagel. It’s not easy to order that. On my first ever trip to the US (Boston) we had to cross the road to the bagel shop to get some breakfast and the first time I remember feeling somewhat confused by the person serving me when they asked: ‘What sort of bagel would you like, ma’am?’ I think my response was ‘Huh? Just ordinary please’.

Panel bagel with no frills

Plain bagel with no frills

Everyone moves so fast

This might only apply to New York and Boston (I have also been to Cape Cod but that was 15 years ago). Certainly in New York the people move as if they are being chased. They don’t run, though. They are still walking but they walk very fast. They would struggle with the slowness of a day out in Shrewsbury.

The fast-moving people of New York

The fast-moving people of New York

I blend in well

This is something I like about the US. I have some weird and wacky clothes (not too weird and wacky, but perhaps a little wacky for Shrewsbury) but in New York at least I look less like the eccentric artist.

Videos in lifts

I’ve only ever encountered this phenomena in the US. Perhaps it is only a New York thing. But both hotels I have stayed in in that city have had videos in the lift.

Videos in lifts

Videos in lifts

Revolving doors

This is most likely a New York thing but the city is full of revolving doors. In the UK the only place you will find one of these is in Morrisons.

One of the many revolving doors

One of the many revolving doors

Everyone walks around (very fast and with purpose) with a drink in their hand

Everyone (again, perhaps this is a New York thing only) walks carrying a Starbucks or similar cup, presumably of coffee. They do this at any time of day or night. They also often are attached to headphones and an iPhone. They also are more likely to use their phone as a phone. They like to march across the road, phone against ear in one hand, coffee in another.

The adverts for medications list all the side effects

I love watching American TV because it is different and refreshing. On our second morning, I enjoyed an hour or so watching the US-equivalent of BBC Breakfast or GMTV. One of the adverts during this programme was for a sleep medication. The narrative of the advert was very convincing. It sounded too good to be true. Towards the end of the advert a different, and faster-speaking narrator, listed all of the side effects of this medication which included: suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, liver problems, kidney problems, death. It was almost as if the angel and the devil were competing with each other. I certainly wasn’t convinced by this wonder-drug by the end of the advert.

I have returned home now and already I miss the energy of the US. I may be ‘weirded out’ by the things in the list above but I am also energized and inspired by the very same things (if at the very least, to write this blog).

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