Wednesday, May 30

America...Land of the Free?

It's more like America…Land of the free refills and home of the brazed chicken burgers.

It’s not enough to land in the USA and be met with an army of people straight out of central casting for Wall-E.  America does its very best to tell you straight up that it is an unapologetic Land of Plenty.  Nor more the land of Milk & Honey, it is now the home of 400-calorie milk lattes and honey mustard on your two-patty chili burger. 
As if the weeble-wobbles in your midst weren’t advertising enough, nowadays landing in America is pretty much the closest thing to being one of the flock at KFC’s.  At every airport across the country, you’ll find spiffy food courts where Americans are led to graze 24/7 before being corralled onto planes where they’re plied with peanuts and beverages and yet a few more meals before landing.  Perhaps they're actually being prepped for faux-gras instead.
- Welcome to the USA -
At Detroit Metro airport, I was unable to find my way to the baggage claim, until after I worked my way thru the maze of food vendors.  Dozens of shops crowded out the gates just in case I didn’t have enough to eat on the plane ride over.  Arriving in DC, the unmistakable and impermeable odor of fried fill-in-the-blank greets you in both arrivals and check-in.  Making your way to your gate, you now can enjoy a host of scents from fried Chinese rice to fried burgers and - ah – fries.  They used to study scents to make you want to linger in the shopping malls.  In Supersized America, these have been swapped out for the natural scents of deep-fry peanut oil, char-broiled burgers and oriental-spiced dishes.
Just in case you already imbibed in your third meal of the day before lunch, deep-fried donuts and other less noxious items like ice cream and lattes await you.  By the time I reached my hotel, and in the 90 degree heat, my hair and clothing stunk to the point that I felt I had been dipped in batter and deep-fried myself.  I imagine it won’t be long until Americans are sporting eau de chicken nuggets perfume – just to turn your fast-food guy on.
It didn’t used to be this way (and I’m not talking about the intro of poly-unsaturated fats in almost everything we eat).  When I first tried convincing airports across the country to allow me to place manicure stations near the gates, I was told repeatedly that “The gateways and gate areas were for moving passengers - and only that.”  Little did I know that it would be less than a decade before that meant moving passengers into food courts and moving bellies so far out they block your view and crowd you out of the very gateways you were trying so in vein to reach in the first place.  Not to mention your seats once you board the plane.


mmtmrb said...

got my laugh of the day reading this one!!

Barbara said...

very true. Good post!