Archive for September, 2005

Fat Wallet

Since arriving back in the States my wallet has been feeling strangly fatter. What gives? I only have one currency to carry. The power of exponetial growth hasn’t graced my investments in any dramatic way. There is no fresh check-marks next to “Marry money” in my inventory of personal goals. Yesterday, apon further inspection, I discovered that despite the uncomfortable fullness I had only $20 in my wallet. Damn you singles and fives! Of course, a month and a couple unfavorable exchange rates ago this would mean more jangly stuff in my pocket, but is that really a disadvantage? It’s not as if I can avoid carrying a wide selection of metal pieces around in addition to this bloated wallet; the 6.59321336% sales tax gods must be apeased.

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Back in the States

After spending 20 of the last 21 months at CERN near Geneva I am now finally back on my native soil. Of course that’s just phrased for dramatic effect. The soil in Switzerland/France is plenty comfy to tred on, probably nicer even when you account for the southing jangle of bells and the fertilizing effect of those Swiss Browns. And, in fact, I feel little or no allegance to this particular brand of soil, the mostly uninteresting Mid-Western type. It would take a 2000 mile, 5 hour flight west before I’d feel truely settled.

So, am I happy to be back? You guessed it: not entirely. But let’s not mope. There are a few items I will appreciate about my new surroundings, such as the grotesque quantity of coffee shops with free wireless, my cool new band of housemates, and my cool old band of From-Ann-Arbor-to-CERN-and-back-again ‘Rockers.

It numbs the mind how true the gas guzzling American stereotype holds up as you step out of the Detroit airport. Check out the picture of what I was confronted with at the international arrivals loading area. It was huge SUVs and vans, idling two-deep, as far as the eye could see in both directions. Every single vehicle was larger than any that I would see at the Geneva airport. In the past I might equivocate, but this scene in the context my life leaves not a sliver of room for such doubt: this is excessive.

Of course I must admit that this selection of cars is far from a fair representation. So, let’s be kind to the poor disadvantaged SUV owners. People arriving on international flights with heaps of luggage are more likely to be picked up by the family member with the Lincoln Navigator rather than a Honda Insight. Also, those idling in the loading area are in clear violation of the rules (you may stop only for active loading and unloading) thus my observation represents the inconsiderate and socially unconcious disproportionately. Dare I suggest that big cars correlate with these personality types? I dare.

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