While we anticipate the next exciting episode of the new hit show Where Goes Jozy?, I'll make the wait bearable by posting one of those non-soccer Top 5'ers I often promise and then forget - complete with a star-spangled theme. There's a couple more of these lists also ready, but let's save something for another wait-y day.
I'm not the only one. Some may find me on the Eurosnob-ish side (I love my bicycle and don't care who knows it), but we all often sit around enjoying the sublime virtues of the things originated over here that practically litter our lives. Americans may seem stubborn at times (in good and bad ways), but don't be fooled.
Pizza and croissants, beer and wine, cars and clothes, Cat Deeley and Simon Cowell... Europe's everywhere in America, we could go on for days. Adding in that much of the United States is made up of bloodlines that started there, it should be no surprise we also want their longer vacations.
And even though lots of cool stuff and people are imports, let's not forget our relatively young country does actually often know unquestionably better about certain things. But I'm not going obvious, such as with something like burgers or badass goalies. Instead, this list will present five golden peculiarities that
prove it, ranked by level of real life annoyance for ex-pats missing
#5 - Cheddar, yo.
The English version tastes like nothing. It's that simple. Every time I cook or go out to get Mexican food, the taste buds are left screaming something about Wisconsin. Sharpen it up, Europe, we know you like strong cheeses.
You had to know one of these was going to be a food item. But if you think this isn't a big deal, try living without proper enchiladas. I dare you.
#4 - Water and refills come gratis at restaurants.
Sheesh. Can a brother get some hospitality? Or at least an eight-ounce glass of palate cleansing quencher? Considering they like to be so green (and earn profits), it's so weird that Europe seems allergic to the wondrous soft drink fountain/bar gun.
Speaking of which...
#3 - Seriously, what's the story about ice?
Is it because it's essentially more free water? I'm not sure I understand the confusion here. Cold. Beverage.
Often, European shop fridges are even set barely above room temperature. There's not too much worse than a flat, lukewarm soda or cocktail, especially on a summer's day.
#2 - Public Transport Hotboxes!!
Sticking with the theme of heat - if not also to the train seat - what the hell? Even many of the newest trains in Europe have sparse ventilation, no windows that open (why ever, why?!?!?!) and plenty of glass to pull sunlight into cars already crowded with human warmth generators. Aside from worrying about every toddler and old person I see riding an offending tram during the hottest days of summer, it's damn near a human rights violation for me. My systems do not care to swelter.
Wanna see me freaking out? Stick me in a packed, fully enclosed Swiss bus, the ones with extra glass but no windows, wearing long pants and a sportscoat, with near-100 readings on the thermometer and humidity index. Oh, you'd see it alright if I would ever allow that to happen again.
#1 - Comfortable Chairs
Erm... what happened to the back support in pretty much every upholstered chair/couch I sit in over here. Seriously, the piece of wood that supports the back end of the cushions apparently does not exist here - IKEA needs to recognize. Don't laugh, their stuff is everywhere.
If I'm 5-foot-10 and the Dutch are the tallest people in the world on average, I guess that explains the preponderance of for reals Chinese massage salons, acupuncturists, chiropractors and yoga teachers in Amsterdam. I surely can't be the only one over here with ass striving for the floor, knees up to elbows and a lower back DEFCON chart. It's not that rare for me to suddenly jump out of a chair and yell "No more!" like I have spine Tourette's.
- Greg Seltzer