Guess where I am?
Not in Madrid. Not even in Europe. I’m home, in Kansas. (Just for a few weeks. I’ll be heading back to Spain next week.)
And everyday since I’ve been back I’ve asked myself: am I the weird one? Or is it the U.S. (more specifically Kansas)? Well, today was a point for the U.S.:
This afternoon I rode my bike to the movie theater to see The Hunger Games (so good, btw). I got there a little early and there was a McDonalds across the street: McFlurry Time. So I walked to the crosswalk of 95th and Mission, which is a relatively big intersection. I pressed the button to cross and the thing started talking to me. Don’t walk. When I crossed I started feeling really self-conscious because on both sides of me there were two lanes of cars filled with people who probably didn’t have anything to do but watch the sole person crossing the street. So I tried to stand straight. But not too straight: I didn’t want to look like I was trying too hard.
When I got to the other side the thing was still talking to me; it was counting down from 10. Now, I understand that the sound effects are to help the blind, but I couldn’t even hear it counting until I was all the way across the street. And second: NO ONE EVER WALKS ACROSS THIS STREET ANYWAY. Ok, I guess I do, but seriously.
Then I went to McDonalds. I got a McFlurry. I was very excited. Now to find a place to eat it. I was by myself and I hadn’t brought a book. If you are alone and without some kind of activity to do it somehow feels wrong to sit at a table inside. Outside, however, is totally acceptable. But… there were no tables or benches outside. How does an eatery exist without having places to eat outside? This is ridiculous.
So, I was surrounded on all sides by pavement. The warmth of my hand was making my McFlurry softer by the second. Luckily, there was a cemetary in the middle of the Price Chopper parking lot. Yup. A cemetary. In the middle of a parking lot. On the way there I walked through another light on 95th Street. Not only did this light not talk to me, it didn’t even have a button to push or a white light person to tell you it’s safe to cross. I felt so… unprotected. Like I had to make a dash for it to even get across the street alive (don’t worry, I made it unscratched).
I sat down on the brickwall that surrounded the cemetary to eat my corn syrup wonderfulness. A guy waved at me and smiled as he drove out of the parking lot. You know I have a spoon in one hand and a McFlurry in the other and my mouth is full of ice cream. I just stared at him as he drove. He probably thought I was a creep.
Then I saw The Hunger Games. And it was awesome.