As I have stated on numerous occasions, I love living in the United States. However, sometimes - and I'm going to be honest here - there are things that, should I ever leave, I won't miss in the least.
Firstly, in the already problematic world of fast food, the idea of free re-fills is one I would happily consign to the list of forgotten memories. It is my viewpoint that they are an incredibly irresponsible part of American consumption, encouraging people of all ages to double - perhaps triple - the already unhealthy amount of pop that is infesting their throats and stomachs.
Come to that, large food portions in general are something I would happily leave behind. Until I moved to this country, I never believed I could eat in greater quantities than I did in the UK. But the admittedly sizable portions of my home country were nothing compared to those on offer at Applebee's or Red Lobster, where you are expected to order salad, in addition to extra bread, a main course, a potential appetizer and a dessert.
I won't miss the needlessly fast pace of life, in which people have to buy the new iPhone this very second, or in which micromanaged deadlines must always be adhered to with the utmost urgency. We are not a nation of robots and sometimes it is well to remember there are stars in the night sky or birds in the trees that require your gaze once in a while.
But on the topic of deadlines, and more specifically jobs, I won't miss living in a so-called "right-to-work state" - in other words, a state where your employer can fire you at will, with no explanation whatsoever. I strongly believe that workers' rights should be exactly that; rights. No person in a country as economically prosperous as the United States should have to worry where his or her next cheque is coming from.
I won't miss the intolerant minority, who vehemently oppose same-sex marriage, women's rights and the idea of an Indian-American woman winning Miss America. While these types certainly exist in, well, any country on the planet, the American version is so vocal.
I won't miss Miss America.
I won't miss ridiculously big pickup trucks and the sight of beaten up cars that still somehow take to the road. Nor will I miss the roads, many of them filled with potholes, mangled tyres and dead raccoon.
I'm going to get killed for this one, but - and I'm sorry - I won't miss contemporary Country music. It seems as if every male singer from this genre bears the same exact voice - the voice of a singer twice his own age, whose lyrics involve said man getting into a fight in some bar to impress some chick whose daddy just died in a truck accident along Route 66.
I won't miss Route 66, because it technically no longer exists.
I won't miss this nation's advertising culture, with corporate billboards along every stretch of road and televised ads appearing every 7 minutes. I won't miss that 25% of these ads are for a different healthcare facility, each one claiming to be the best.
I won't miss money talk. Whatever the occasion, Americans will find a way to talk about money: do you have enough? Why aren't you working a second job? We really need to talk about your student loans. I refer you once more to the stars and the birds.
Did I mention I love living in the United States?
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