America is a strange and wondrous place. So much so that acclimatizing yourself to its many sights, sounds and smells can be a little jarring the first time round.
After living in Pittsburgh for 9 months, I didn't think that I'd have to readjust to it after a mere five months in Ireland.
I can handle the crappy money that makes it impossible to intuitively determine what note or coin is what. I can deal with the sight of electrical outlets in bathrooms. Driving on the opposite side of the road doesn't faze me like it once did. Having to request a 'bag of chips' instead of a 'packet of crisps' is still second nature to me. I appreciate the extra mouthful in every can or bottle of 'soda'. Heck, I even prefer that the light switches are larger, more flickable levers, instead of the small stubborn ones I've experienced on the Emerald Isle. All of these minor changes are a given - and I slip into them like a comfortable pair of old shoes. What isn't quite as comfortable, however, is the sheer volume of fatties.
I don't understand how these people are so fat. But merely calling them 'fat' is quite misleading. The people that I find visually offensive are the morbidly obese, four-hundred pounders who wheeze as they waddle about the place.
Sitting in the airport at Shannon as I waited for my plane, I looked around to play the 'what nationality' game. A short lived game, however; the first entity I laid eyes on caused a sensory overload as I tried to extrapolate a gender and species from the mountain of flesh, based on observation alone.
I do find it quite disturbing, beholding these people as they attempt to emulate the bipeds around them. What's more, it seems that my social tact is inversely proportionate to my proximity to one of these beasts. Let's apply that theorem to a recent example.
About four hours into the flight to Chicago, I was watching a (bad) movie (called Unknown that you should never watch), and I felt the floor around me vibrate. When one is thirty-thousand feet from the unforgiving ocean, they're obviously going to pay attention to whatever is causing such tremors. I looked up as two whales stuffed into a moo-moo, Little Rascals style, trundled towards me. The smell from these beasts masquerading as woman was woeful. The unmistakable smell of mould launched a full frontal assault on my nose, as it was shook free from the innumerable gelatinous layers of skin this woman was buried under. My reaction? I exclaimed a terrifically loud "Urrrrghhh" and covered my nose and mouth, oblivious to how noisy I actually was because the headphones I was wearing were blaring.
It's possible my incredibly insensitive carry-on could have been mistaken for a reaction to the film, but I doubt it. And I hope not. We should hector the fatties more. Not just for the sake of their health, but for the poor bastards like me who have to look at them.
Fluffy Links – Wednesday 22nd May 2013
8 hours ago