Last week Brit Gal posted a list of What the UK Does a lot Better. Well, as a proud American I have to admit that I was a bit miffed, though I couldn’t argue since I haven’t been to the UK. And there are a couple of items that I can easily believe. One is cheese. I’ve heard before that there are more varieties of cheese available in Europe and I have to say that I am very envious. Another thing is irony. Yeah… I’m not usually a big fan of irony. I feel that it’s sort of like salt – you never need more than a little and you don’t need to add it to everything. But a lot of people here simply don’t get irony and sarcasm at all and it’s seriously annoying to have to explain to someone, “No, not really! That was irony.” And then once in a while you run into those very strange folks who refuse to accept it even after you tell them, always insisting that everyone literally means exactly what they say.
There are several other items on the list that I, sadly, have to admit that we probably are behind in. I’ve always thought multi-story parking garages at malls would be a good idea even though I hate parking in them. Just because we have a lot of land is no excuse for wasting it all on parking lots. Internet services – yeah, I know my Internet service isn’t what it should be. Some things are regional. You can get fresh fish if you live near the coast.
But what I really started out to write about is that this week Brit Gal posted about one thing that we do better in the US and it’s a biggie: Public Restrooms. I suspect that most Europeans would find us irrationally picky about our public restrooms. Let one be slightly less than hospital clean and we are outraged about how “filthy” it is. And I, personally, expect every business and public building to have one. There are a lot of businesses that don’t, of course, and I think really bad thoughts about those businesses, especially the bigger stores. I can sort of forgive small independent specialty shops.
I’m not too sure about all the automatic stuff. I generally like new-fangled futuristic gadgets but some things are better done the old fashioned way. Automatic everything means you don’t have to touch anything, which is good I suppose if you are fanatical about germs but they don’t always work. Apparently very few people realize that the automatic flush toilets can be flushed manually if they don’t work. I can excuse anyone who doesn’t know because it’s not that obvious. They need make the button at least an inch across and bright red and have a big sign with an arrow pointing to the button, saying, “If the toilet doesn’t flush automatically push the damn button! What in hell is the matter with you; were you born in a barn?” but instead they make them blend into the design so well that if you don’t realize there’s a button you never see it and most people wouldn’t think to look. Understandably, they just want to get out of there as quickly as possible. But now you know because I just told you so don’t ever let me catch you leaving an unflushed toilet.
I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do if the automatic faucets don’t work. Is there a secret button that I haven’t discovered yet? Another problem with the automatic stuff is that it doesn’t work well for little kids and sometimes scares them, as someone said in the comments over there.
Anyway, the revelation about the differences between British and American loos makes me feel a little less bad about the fact that I’ll probably never get to go over there for a visit. I’m afraid the old world restrooms might tend to spoil my enjoyment of all the old world charm.