Thursday, May 19, 2011
When our American civilization is long gone and all that is left
is dust and rumors of things that once were, I feel that there will
be four things that our culture brought to the world. No, not
technology or literature. Those are way too easy. The four real
pillars are these:
Ice Water with meals
How American is this! It's almost a right and is expected. Where
is my ice water?!? one may ask if it doesn't appear at your table
Ice (in general)
Have you tried to order a beverage in another country. Where is
it? If you ask for it, funny looks will almost always follow. I believe
the practice of "No Ice" is a holdover from the days when Communism
ruled part of the world...You want Ice? I give you ice! Next stop the
Gulag in Siberia...USA...land of the Free and Home of the Ice!
Asking for a packet of ketchup (I mean Tomato Sauce) in New Zealand
is a painful ordeal. I honestly believe that all restaurant employees in
the land of otherwise delightful Kiwis go through a mandatory class at
the Eva Braun School of Condiment Dispensing when it comes to handing
out anything free. America? People have been known to make it between
grocery shopping trips, living on nothing but Condiment Packet Soup!
There are blogs and websites by Americans, dedicated to the thousands
of varietal condiment packets out there. Elsewhere...not so much.
Lynn and I have traveled to six of the seven continents and one thing
that is not always a given is the elusive free bathroom. In North America?
Sure...it's almost not even a challenge. In most places you don't even have
to buy anything and escape with a clear conscience. In Romania, for a few
coins you are given entrance to a bunker-like facility and handed some
pink cloth that looks like something you wipe your car windshield with.
All monitored by a man named Boris. In France, a beautiful, fully automated
round tomato looking structure that cleans itself after you leave. Ah...the
French... And in Peru...You've paid hundreds of dollars to make the long
excursion to Machu Picchu. Truly a wonder of the world. The Inca were
marvelous geniuses. When you're finished...1 Sole to use the toilet.
Guarded by a stern Quichua taskmistress.
So there you go. A list that will stand the test of time. What American
Culture has given the world. Will it make it better or worse? Only the
eons and our descendants will be able to decide.