Went to sleep at 10. It's 3:30 now and I'm wide awake. Wonderful.
So I wanted to go over some thoughts I had while in Europe. I got absolutely no news from the States, just a snippet of Chimpy's speech to the Border Patrol on the Beeb. I saw an Arizona state flag so I guess it was there. But I was exposed to Americans.
While I'm in Europe, I try to avoid Americans at all costs. It isn't hard. They're usually the loudest, most obnoxious and stand out among tourists of many a stripe. I'm sure the natives look at us the same way. A hint: Just because you are yelling "DO - YOU - TAKE - CREDIT - CARDS?" over and over, louder and more slowly each time, at the store clerk, it won't make him/her understand you any better. You just look like an idiot. Whip out your Visa and lay it down, it's a modern country, trust me.
Next, when you're in arguably the most romantic bistrot in the 7eme Arrondissment and you're eating the most increible meal you'll probably have in your miserable life, don't be going on about how the French hate us and are a buncha assholes for not going to Iraq. There's something called class, what the wait staff treated you with even though they understood every word you said. Trust me, they did. Also, the rest of the patrons who are enjoying the romance of the moment don't need to hear it.
Next, contrary to popular belief, the French don't hate us. Most speak English and don't demand you speak French. A simple "bon jour" when you enter an establishment will garner a smile. They'll figure out how to help you and do it gladly. In several trips to the city, I have yet to encounter a cross word or a superior attitude. Don't come with one and you'll have no problems.
After spending a good part of my life in Europe, I've come to see the change in the perception of Americans over the past 35 years. When I was young, America was a society to be emulated. I saw it in the eyes of friends and relatives when they spoke of our great nation. Now we're seen as obnoxious bullies, most of us anyway, and need to be handled rather than respected. It's respect that we're lacking; a respect for cultures thousands of years older than ours. Take it from me, ladies and germs, they must be doing something right to last so long.
And just a note to the idiot who left his bag outside the bathroom in Charles DeGaulle Airport when he went in to take a leak. You're a fucking ASSHOLE!