Friday, April 2, 2010

Return to USA

One of the things we most enjoy about travel out of the USA is being in a place so wonderfully different, but it is always a bit of a culture shock to return to the relative frenzy of our home country which then seems to heighten sensitivity to some of the more negative aspects of our society. The consumption orientation and greedy self absorbed nature of our economic culture becomes all too visible after being in a country with so much less and yet so much more to offer.
For example, and not necessarily in chronological or geographic order. I just went to the car communal bathroom on the train as we are traveling from West Palm Beach to Tampa and discovered not only urine on the toilet seat, which of course is not so unusual, but actually free flowing in a tidelike manner back and forth depending on which zig or zag the train was on. So in order to utilize the facility I was forced to put paper towels down in the path of the yellow stream, then wipe the seat and adjoining areas, use different paper towels (can you already here the buzzsaws cutting down more trees?) to soap and wash the seat, then dry. After my own use I then used even more paper towels to wash and dry the bottom of my shoes. It’s so much fun to make use of such professionals talents while on vacation, but I did draw the line at picking up the urine soaked towels preferring to report the situation to train staff who were very grateful for my efforts but of course why wouldn’t they be.
Now come on guys I know the train’s moving and all but there is a grab bar to hold on to!! As Jay gave me a personal review that this really isn’t all that difficult to manage, I can only assume that the previous pee-ers just don’t care about the effect their inactions have on others. Amtrak does such a nice job of keeping their trains clean but it’s difficult to keep doing that if every time someone walks in to use a bathroom they walk out with urine on their shoes then tracking it a few steps or more onto the train’s carpeted walkways or up on the seat (since of course that inconsiderate behavior is also rampant). Perhaps this is why many public urinals in Europe just gave up and left the holes.

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