Returning to America after four years in Europe

Monday, June 06, 2005

Sat on my ass

In America, you don’t have to move your ass. Seriously. So many aspects of life are remarkably easy here.

Buy groceries and someone puts them in bags for you – they even ask if you want paper or plastic bags. And the bags are free!

Valet parking at many restaurants is not only an option, it’s sometimes required. You want to park your car yourself and walk the 30, instead of 5, steps inside? Sorry, you have to valet.

At movie theatres, you don’t even have to queue to buy snacks anymore. You put your order into an ATM-looking machine and get a number. When order is ready, they call your number and you pick it up then.

While recently buying a new pair of shoes at Nordstroms, I tried on about 10 pairs before I made my selection. It was astonishing to me that they continued to smile and bring more shoes as I rejected pair after pair. Sitting in a comfy chair after trying all those pairs of shoes, the sales assistant offered to ring it all up for me and bring the bill to me in the chair.

What a country – you don’t even have to stand up to buy a pair of shoes!

Immediately after, Dad and I went for dinner at the always-packed Cheesecake Factory. It is a new addition to the popular Grove shopping center and occupies two floors. To save diners from having to actually climb the stairs to the dining area, they installed an escalator.

But we’re already paying the price for our laziness. America is the fattest nation on earth and we’re getting fatter. There was a recent report that restaurant chains like Chili’s are buying larger tables and chairs to accommodate their larger customers.

This is part of the problem – we Americans are so comforted and coddled, we are becoming wimpy. I don’t exclude myself from this. I could stand to lose a few pounds and, hey, I didn’t even take the 10 steps to the cash register at Nordstroms.


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