Back in the US of A.

I would never use the word “glamorous” to describe
international flying, but there is something dignified about it:
The passengers are more patient, the flights more easygoing;
overseas airports tend to be immaculate and their staff friendly.
That’s a pretty sweeping generalization, maybe, but on the whole
it’s a more civilized atmosphere.

This is generally true of living overseas. Since Americans place
such a high value on money, comparatively speaking, and I mean in
the sense of pure figures, numbers, my fellow Americans often have
a really skewed and unrealistic picture of what life is like in
Europe, for example, where I’ve lived for more than a decade.

Whenever people go on and on charecterizing how terrible life
must be in Continental Europe with its supposedly socialist-leaning
governments and heavy “tax burden” for the poor downtrodden
citizens, I always want to say “Well yeah but uhm, you’re missing a
big part of the picture– have you seen how people actually
live, in Europe?

The Europeans themselves don’t help, often seeing things this
way in a mirror image, thinking that everything must be so
wonderful in the US where everyone makes more money than the rest
of the world and thus must be living in luxury.


Americans have basically discovered one big trick, that if you
work night and day and take no vacations you can crank up economic
activity really high and come out on top of everyone else. By the
numbers, that is. The whole idea of what all that money was
for to begin with, i.e. the things in life it can buy for
you, often gets lost in the rush to cut back on everything to get
those numbers higher and higher.

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