And here's one you missed earlier part 3 - Laptop Diary archive 7 December 2002

Almost certain

Not many things are certain in life but I've found one thing that is. Wherever I go, people love me. Maybe it's the cheeky grin and that glint of mischief in my eye, or maybe it's because I get the first round, but it seems to be the case wherever I go. Next holiday Afghanistan for Valentines day then...

The other almost-certainty in life (i.e. not a dead cert as such but perhaps a cert in a coma) is that I will forever remain single. Why the hell this is given the first is a mystery to us all. The guys love me (not that I would go THAT far to break this curse mind...) for being the funniest man alive and the chicks love me in a purely platonic way for being the village idiot.

Oh to break up the flow here, I'd just like to report that out of my window to the left I have just seen a bus with the words "Ride the Duck" emblazoned on it, full of christmas decorations and people with Santa Clause hats on. It's December 7th.

As you all well know, I shall continue full throttle with being the funniest village idiot alive and won't goddamn change for anyone. Long may my antics continue! But I might skip Afghanistan. For somewhere more lethal on Feb 14.

I've been thinkin about America and, now that I'm a good 30 hours or more away from Southern California (they've got guns down there you know) I thought I'd voice my opinions, not just on what they've got wrong but on what the yanks are actually getting right.

To break up the flow again I just have to add that the guy behind me has a horrendous ringtone on his phone that is the same tune as one of the horrendous digital tunes I had to put up with on my Grandads Made in China. It sounds more cheesy in Orange County though.

Of course there's no point in me listing ALL the things that the Yanks have got wrong, as you all are able to read newspapers, so I'm not gonna involve myself in any way in the iffy world political arena. and anyway that would just be dull. I only deal with the real issues.

Wrong - Flushing Urinals. No bugger really wants to touch a flush handle after countless men have used the same hand to hold on to their cocks.

Right - Automatic Flushing urinals. Probably saves water, although I have one objection. The detector looks like a hidden video camera and is placed at exactly knob-level. Any of you who know me well enough know that I actually believe that those supermarket red light thingys have a little man underneath them with a camera and red light on his helmet, so this is naturally a very frightening prospect.

Wrong - Oh my god. I've just gone past a station called Kent. It's almost like being at home. It looks like shit here too.

Right - Buses that have the words "Ride the Duck" emblazoned on the side. Truly a testament to animal cruelty

Wrong - Jay walking as a criminal offence. Jay should be allowed to walk wherever he likes regardless of what he is called. Did they arrest you J++ or did you come in on a fake passport? The criminalisation of pedestrianisation coupled with the American consumer bent and horrendous driving tendencies can only be condusive to creating a society which disregards and condescends upon the humble hiker.

Right - Every house has a bath and a shower. All the homes I've gone into, even the trailer parks, have a tap thingy that does showers as well as baths. Most houses in England are still forced to choose.

Wrong - A load of people don't even have a house. The homelessness problem is immense. I thought this was supposed to be a developed country. I've only seen more homeless people in India, but to be fair there were a HELL of a lot moroe homeless people in India.

Right - Those ads in the back of the free newspapers that crack me up and the writing style in the offbeat magazines. Take this random selection from The Portland Mercury, which have in my hand...

  • Out of Control? Pornography? Compulsive masturbation? Adultery? Strip Shows? Prostitution? Compulsive cross-dressing? There is a solution. Sex Addicts Anonymous. (503) 52-5961
  • Look Good Hot and sweaty $10 Intro. 10 days unlimited yoga. 4831 NE Fremont 503-284-0555
  • Clothing optional Co-ed Hot tubs, sauna, $10/hour. 360-695-1824 - gift certificates available

Or try this selection from Seattle Weekly (I'm in the hostel now)

  • Need to pass a drug test? Pass every time with TOLL FREE 866-837-8253
  • Experience "Joy"! 1-800-578-3674 Honest Tarot Expert for private good rates
  • Christian? Single? 206-575-2424
  • Is he cheating? Is she cheating? Need proof? Find out now! Discrete professional Confidential free call 1-877-376-6281

Every one a classic

Wrong - The obsessive compulsive disorder of ID'ing that this country has. People in the UK get embarrased when they have to ask people who patently look 15 for ID but here they don't bat an eyelid asking an old-lookin guy like me for ID wherever I go.

Right - Local calls are free. They've had this for a long time and that's why the web for free is not such a shocking idea over here.

Wrong - Most art galleries and museums cost money. I guess it's only fair but I'm a spoilt Londoner with an art fetish

Right - Road signs face the right way. It took me a while to work out what was going on with this. Those big green signs hanging from the lampposts at junctions are actually the name of the road intersecting and not the road that you are on. The signs make it obvious which road you are at because it presumes you already know which road you are on. We Brits put our roadsides, on the other hand, in the most difficult to find, darndest places, and it's normally only AFTER you've gone past the street that you realise that that's where you wanted to turn.

Wrong - Toilets. NOT restrooms. A restroom is somewhere where you go to rest and, although i have slept under a pool table in leeds and in a hammock in a jungle in Ghana, I wouldn't ever consider resting in a toilet. Period

Wrong - Periods. People do not have their periods at the end of every sentence. They would die.

Right - Christmas. It's starts at Thanksgiving (well alright it starts in October like it does in England) but it's BIG. We are materialistic at Christmas on both sides of the Atlantic, let's be fair about this, but they do it with style over here. It's actually quite an exciting build up if I must say so myself.

Right - ATMs everywhere. There are loads of places you can stick your card and get money out including petrol pumps.

I could go on like this forever but there's another certainty I hadn't mentioned earlier. I wouldn't live here forever for all the clam chowders in Pier 39 at San Francisco. And damn those things are a good idea!

Because I love London and London loves Me. And I kinda miss all you bitches.

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