A year of living –

What a difference a year makes – or two. The last time I was here I suppose doesn’t count as really ‘being’ here as I had to leave after just a couple days and return home. By mid-travel this trip I was irritated and moving quickly to uncomfortable. Touching down in Memphis brought it all out to the front of my consciousness – I don’t like being in the US any longer. It is difficult to put your finger on the reason, but one thing I have learned over the past year especially is to pay attention to gut feelings, and my gut tells me this is not the place to be. In all honesty, the minniapolis airport was deserted, so it wasn’t over crowding that lead to my discomfort. It was suprisingly empty for a saturday. Maybe everyone was at the Mall? But it was cold….not in minniapolis, where it was raining, but in the airport where the airconditioning was set on hypothermia. I drank cup after cup of insipid tea just to be holding something warm and wished I had brought my mitts to wear inside. I always forget the american drive to use up natural resources as fast as humanly possible.

And of course the little rain storm made the scheduled aircraft late, so we left the land that time forgot late, arrivng in memphis about the time I was realizing, once again that my joints just can not stand to sit for so much of the day. While in minneaplis I walked from one end of the terminal to the other a couple times, just to make sure I got some blood flow filtering through my lungs. I don’t want any suprises while in the US because, amid all the packing and getting things off my desk at work, I forgot to go get travel insurance. One more thing to dislike about the US – the inability to be ill without preplanning.

Arriving in Memphis full of rising irritability and painful hips I discovered that yes, even in the south, the world revolves around some people. Since air travel began it has been common curtesy to allow the infirmed, handicapped and those needing assistance to get on the plane and settled first and to extend the same curtesy to the other passengers by having those who block the ailse deplane last. Not so anylonger. Up jump their handlers, who may not be even sitting in the same row, manhandling mum and her cane and non-functioning leg into the aisle before the doors open. Elbowing other passenger’s heads to haul down the suitcase and drag dad up into blocking the aisle, these paragons of filial virtue shuffle their charges out obstructing not only the aisle in the plane but also the gangway to the airport. Slow and unsteady these parents of utter twits hobble out of the plane with the rest of the passengers breathing, like the hounds of hell, at their backs.

Bad enough that the passengers clog the exits, but the crew seems unable to control the environment. Used to be they would remind you to remain seated and they would get you the assistance you needed after everyone else got off. Now they have some hapless grond crew fighting the stream of passengers trying to get out while the crew rushes a wheel chair down the ramp and junior tries unsuccessfully to have dad stand here, out of the way. Shit you mensa reject – dad has been sitting for the past two hours, and he is stiff and unsteady, He needs to move slowly and carefully you cast off science experiment on intelligence.

Bad enough the crew cannot control the passengers, but they also cannot control the equipment. Twice this trip they could not seem to get the exit pathway working within any reasonable time frame. I worry for the safety of those inside.

Finally, upon touchdown in huntsville, when once again they couldn’t locate the means to open the door, I arrived and shared with JD my misgivings…..I am not enjoying being in the US any longer – he hit it on the head – everything is just so damn difficult. Perhaps that is what pervades the air down here – the collective sense that EVERYTHING is an ordeal, that nothing is simple or easy to do, it all requires more hours and patience than it is worth.

Too many people, too little brains. Are there more stupid people in the US? Not necessarily, there are idiots aplenty in every country, but perhaps it is that because there are more people the idiots seem more plentiful. Or maybe, as JD points out, it is that they are ill educated AND stupid. A deadly combination in a society. After discussing this and JD blaming it all on the mexicans we arrive at sonic for a burger, where the decidedly white guy behind the microphone still can’t get the order correct (did you know you CAN determine skin colour by voice alone?) and we arrive at the house and I find it has been inhabited by an aged calvin and hobbs.

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