Today I’m writing from a coffee shop in the Santana Row “village” (see below for rant) in San Jose, California. It’s Christmas Eve, 2015. I’ve been in the Czech Republic now with only brief interruptions since June 2015, so I’ve had a fair bit of time to acclimate to the European lifestyle. Coming back for the holiday brings a bunch of thoughts, including how weird it is that everyone understands English, but one stands out:
Holy crap everything is just enormous!
Like, seriously huge. Cars, houses, roads, plates of food, stores, things in stores… I feel like Gulliver or something. Only the people are roughly the same size. Well, they’re roughly the same height, anyway. Nonetheless, it apparently takes one of these to transport a family of four to dinner:
It’s not like big cars are a new thing in the U.S. After all, my father drove us around in one of these when I was a kid:
(Wow I really wish he had kept that car…)
What I do think has changed since the Johnson administration is the size of everything else. I’m not sure, but I wonder sometimes if the American obesity crisis is simply an attempt to expand to fill all the space we’ve made for ourselves. (Really I think it’s because we’re being poisoned, but that’s a subject for another blog.)
The contrast with Brno, where the average monthly salary would not quite buy the gas for the truck above, is quite impressive. You can make arguments for both lifestyles, I guess, but I know which I would prefer.
Oh, and about Santana Row… blearrgh. Why do we tear down real towns with character and interest, so we can build fake ones instead? Not enough room for luxury retail? Bad land-use laws (this is probably it, really)? I think I feel another blog coming on on the importance of decent legislation…