American Exceptionalism, my ass

If you listen to any politicians these days, they seem to be incapable of going more than 2 minutes without commenting on the veracity of “American Exceptionalism”.  Today, I am going to debunk that claim.

I am currently vacationing in Sedona, AZ, part of the “Exceptional America” (and I will posit that the views, the food, and the relaxation options here are indeed superb).  

To help with traffic flow, they have built roundabouts in many intersections.  This keeps traffic flowing, and reduces emissions, as cars don’t have to stop and idle waiting for their turn to go.

However, “Exceptional Americans” seem to have a brain freeze when they come to one of these traffic flow control devices.  Many STOP and wait until the roundabout is empty.  BZZZZT you merely wait until you can merge in.  Often there is no waiting.

Another thing I see is that there are tire marks where people have driven straight over the roundabout.  BZZZT You merge in, go around to where you exit, signal, and exit.

I know, some of you will call this “communist tactics imported from Europe”, but the truth is, they are vastly superior to keeping traffic flowing, and reducing annoying waits at stop lights.  For the love of god, learn to navigate Traffic Roundabouts.

Travel Foibles: Part 8 (of too many to count) – “Premium” Seats

Since when was an aisle seat or a window seat “premium” and worth $15 to $40 more?  I understand the psychology of airlines, and their addiction to the nickel and dime charges that travelers are willing to outlay.  But, come on.  Tomorrow, I am flying to Austin Texas.  American TUS to DFW.  2;05.  I have a center seat.  eh, I can deal with it, because it is not a long flight.  But, you would think that I have a center seat due to the fact that the plane is overbooked, or ful.  

You would be wrong.  There are aisle and window seats available.  I just have to whip out my AMX card and buy the seat.  Sorry, not gonna do that.  

To me, a “Premium” seat is in a different class of service.  Like First Class, or Business Class.  It isn’t just a seat with only one other traveler next to me in it.  

Airlines, I would be willing to pay $40 for a seat with an extra 6″ of legroom.  I hate being cramped in a seat that should really have an OSHA limitation to be sold only to double, above the knee amputees and not have ergonomic issues.

Ah well, I guess I am tilting at windmills.

Travel Foibles: Part 7 (of many) – Hotel “green” initiatives

You have probably seen it, you get into your hotel room, and there are placards that describe how you can help them “save the environment” by any of a number of actions that include:

  • Not changing the bedding daily
  • Reusing your towel
  • Turning off lights and television while not in the room

All great things, and I do all of them (in fact, I virtually NEVER watch TV in my hotel room.  Just got out of the habit years ago and forget that it is even there anymore).

The one that bothers me the most is the reuse of towels.  I alway hang them on the hook to signify that I will use it again.  At home, I typically wash my drying towel once a week, so two or three days of use is neither “gross” nor a problem for me.

However, probably 90% of the time, the cleaning staff replaces the towel anyway.  So much for environmental consciousness. It makes you wonder what else they are not doing.

(For the record, the best experience was the Shiodome Hotel in Tokyo.  There is a card you put on your pillow to signify re-use of the bedding, and in return you get a “You are so AWESOME” card.  I have one taped to my office door.)