The Windsor RD Dispatch: The Tude ‘Over There’


For that which the U.S. gets a bad rap-our seeming excessiveness fed by what many consider and out of control Capitalism-I champion and adore. I love that fact that in my country you can try to pursue your filthiest money hungry desires. I will concede therein lies the root of many problems for Americans personally, as well as our society overall, but give me this freedom over any other system, I say.

But I also err on the side of being polite, of lifting my nose up from my cell phone screen to regard others with a good morning, to holding a door or giving-up my seat for a lady (women’s liberation be damned). Nothing warms my heart more than when folks are nice to one another and yes, here in the U.S. I do actually see daily examples of civility even as we chase the almighty dollar.

But I think in overall laid-back-ness, other countries might have us beat.

It might be that other places are a hell of a lot older, or the fact that in Europe folks of different languages and customs freely interact on a more regular basis then across the big continent of America, or maybe all that time for vacation from your work makes you all a lot happier, but traveling recently from my home mere miles out of NYC, into Heathrow, then later on to Amsterdam proved to me that things might just be a lot chiller off my continent.

Across the U.S. we are currently suffering through airport security lines that in some cases take travelers longer to get through, then the airplane ride they are trying to get through airport security to get to. Luckily leaving the U.S. I didn’t encounter this kind of problem (though I left plenty of time to) but I noticed the lines at Heathrow-coming in and leaving-and in and out of Amsterdam’s big airport, moved smoothly and when presented with a problem, the security, and customs at these handled things we aplomb.

In fact, I could have easily caused a big snafu, forgetting as I did to account for that carry-on liquid conundrum. But even with my bags ‘pulled’ and searched, the agent couldn’t have been nicer, never raising her eyebrow or voice over my stupidity (or laziness, pick one) and things just flowed smoothly. There was none of that ‘put-upon’ air I find too often with American TSA agents, even when you try your best to be as friendly as possible.

Again, are Europeans just that much nicer? Maybe it’s the accents (accents at least to my ears) that have me believing people are being sweet when in fact they are telling me off. But from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s wonderful and slightly naughty “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear exhibit, to walking through the rain-drenched muddy fields of the Cotswolds, to marveling at the horrors that had to be Anne Frank’s family’s life in her little house on the canal in Amsterdam, to finally seeing the famed red lights bounce of a nighttime canal, to eating pancakes too much like crepes to really be pancakes, the places I saw were thrilling and the people ‘over there’ amazed me with their civility.

I do love America, would never live anyplace else, but there is something to be said the ‘tude over there.

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