This post was originally written in 2011.
Let me start out by saying I realize I have not returned to the States, wiser and more contemplative, from a three year stint living in a remote Tibetan temple.
I have, however, just returned from an extended trip to France, and as usual, feel somewhat reflective. Listed below are five things that struck me as I stepped off the plane in Philadelphia after my transatlantic flight.
1) Television news media is crap, and I apologize for the insult to all self-respecting crap. I don’t care if you’re right-wing, left-wing, or chicken-wing, if you’re spending any time at all watching CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc., then you are wasting valuable time. It is shocking what passes for news these days.
2) We eat way too much bad food.
One thing you have to give the French is their unwavering devotion to good food. We in the States, unfortunately, don’t share the same passion, though things do seem to be improving a bit. It’s no wonder we’re a nation of large, ever-expanding waist lines. It’s difficult and expensive to eat healthfully in this country and easy and cheap to eat abundant amounts of low quality, calorie dense food. I’m happy to see the surge in popularity for organically grown vegetables, the slow food movement, and urban farmer’s markets.
3) We need to amp up our recycling efforts.
It should be easy and convenient to recycle, not difficult and time consuming. Recycling our waste in the States is still looked at as a fringe movement.
In France it’s a way of life.
4) May I please have more than thirty minutes for lunch?
As I passed numerous fast food restaurants in the airport it struck me that we Americans think that thirty minutes is more than enough time to zip through the drive-thru, gulp down a super-sized happy meal with a jumbo coke, and make it back to work with seconds to spare. In France, it’s just about enough time to get halfway through your first glass of wine. There’s something to be said for taking your time and enjoying good food and good company.
5) Some Tea Bag is going to read this post and think I hate America.
OK, I didn’t actually think this as I stepped off the plane, but I’m allowed to take a little artistic license now and then, right?