USA: the Good, the Bad, the Quirky (#2)

Welcome everyone to the second instalment of USA: the Good, the Bad, the Quirky.

If you missed the first one, let me tell you what this is all about. Sophie at Beware of the Reader and I partnered up and decided to write about quirky and funny stuff regarding the US as seen from the eyes of two chicks from Europe.

Since we both had plenty of anecdotes and things to talk about, we decided to split this  novella-long brainchild of ours and feed it to the readers in baby morsels hoping not to choke you.

Last Friday we left you with the crazy cab drivers… Of course if you have to travel long distances or want to embark on a road trip you would use your giant car…


Here comes the sheriff!

So you thought you were in the clear in this “middle of nowhere” road without a single house in sight for hundreds of miles? You had a heavy foot and drove too fast. Well see these bright blue lights and the wail of the siren? That’s the local sheriff coming from some hidden hole and driving full speed to catch you!

Once more you’d better not play smart with the authorities.

Honestly I still wonder where the sheriff was hiding??? I think they go undercover with some big camouflage for their cars. That or they are psychic and seriously attuned to not law-abiding drivers. We did not drive too fast but another car did and IT WAS LIKE A MOVIE!!! The police car came full speed lights crazy and sirens blaring. The driver didn’t stand a chance.

You want to avoid any problem and visit a city? Big Apple for example? Then you do like Talia: hail to public transportation!


Public Transportation

The NY subway is by many seen as the devil personified, like some kind of evil entity that is not meant to be understood but only suffered. Personally, I adore it!

Is it insanely hot during the summer to the point of fainting? Yes, sir.

Is it sometimes confusing? Can bet it is. Even Google Maps sometimes can be deceiving.

Does it have the poorest wifi known to mankind? To be debated considering the wifi in my dorm… but a close second.

Are the trains late sometimes? Again yeah, but usually only on Sundays or on the weekends.

Now, after all these downsides, let me explain why I love my dear MTA service.

First of all, after a cold fall afternoon, the warmth of the subway is like being wrapped in a cozy blanket. Secondly, Manhattan is huge. You cannot walk from one neighborhood to the other in a viable time. You just cannot. And living in Brooklyn, the subway is my only way to get to Manhattan. But want to know the incredible part? It takes me less time to reach my college miles and miles away from my dorm than it took me in Italy to go from home to my 4-miles-away university.

So all hail to the subway!

Also, I’ve been using it for two months and still haven’t been groped, harassed or had to stand too close to someone else at expenses of my comfort. Sure, sometimes during rush hour you might have to squeeze, but I found everyone really respectful and kind. The only disruption are the street artists or homeless people who will try to monopolize your attention with loud yells or bongo music, which is not great if you have a headache or it’s 7 in the frigging morning, but it’s part of its charm.

This is NOT how it works in Italy. If your bus is running late and finally you see it coming, you shove your way to the edge of the sidewalk and, if you’re really late, you may even grab somebody from the inside and pull them out. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but I honestly wouldn’t put it beneath Italians to do just that.


Praise to US efficiency: talking street lights and other oddities


We crossed many States on our two West/Center trips and notices that every town has its own “sound” for the street lights. It must be very useful for blind or distracted people (hello smartphone addict!).

In California some street lights sounded like frogs, in Denver rather like crows and the best was in West Yellowstone where the crossing light told you “Wait!” in a croaking voice. It was so funny I even caught an adult pushing numerous times on the button just to hear it speaking it’s “wait, wait, wait”.

No frogs or crows or talking in my country just a beep beep. US is much more poetic!

What’s even more logical: the street light at a crossing is on the other side of the road you want to cross. Not alongside your car before the crossing as in Europe. No crooked neck to try and see if the light is turning green. So much more practical!


Another oddity for US: your mail boxes.

In the countryside they were like a gathering of crows: all in grapes along the main road. Some white, some red, some grey like flowers ready to be plucked.

I was really intrigued until I realized your distance are so big that the postman would lose tons of precious time if he had to drive to the house self just to deliver the mail. Once again it’s much more efficient to gather all mail boxes along the main road so people could get their mail coming or going to their houses.

You don’t only have super heroes you also have super flushes for the toilets.

Imagine the scene: first time I had to go to the loo. I did my business all happy to be finally in the US and flushed the toilet. Bang! A sound akin to a small explosion had me jumping a solid foot behind! Heart beating erratically I realized it was only the very powerful flush.

It is one of the coolest features so far and I’m still trying to understand its working. Don’t worry we also have flushes and keep our toilets clean in Europe but your system was once more just … efficient.


It’s everything for this week but, as usual, if you have your own funny stories regarding the US, or Europe if you’re American and something from the other side of the pond befuddled you, we’d love too hear them. So comment below if you feel so inclined 😉

You can find Sophie’s post here

Authors bio:

Sophie @bewareofthereader 

Hi everyone I’m a forty something mom of two teenagers and proud dog owner.

I’ve always loved reading for as long as I can remember. I started reading in English at 18 when my dad came back from a NY business trip with the famous best seller “The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet”. As I love English with a passion I never stopped reading in Shakespear’s tongue.

I began blogging following Goodreads friend’s advice. I did it for the challenge and to create something of my own. Never in a million years would have I guessed blogging would be so much fun and make me meet fantastic people. The blogging community is a very supportive community and that’s what I love above all else.

I’m still a newbie as I will celebrate my first blogoversary at the begin of December.

I’m not only a blogger and a reviewer but also a beta reader. I’ve met fantastic authors and they became dear friends.

Who said that reading was a solitary activity?

A huge thank you to my husband who has cleaned up my blogging mess countless times so far 😉

IT guys for all their gibberish can be helpful!


Talia @redhotink

Talia is a 22 year old bookworm who is currently chasing her dream of becoming a forensic psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in New York.

Originally, she is from Florence, Italy, where she lived all her life up until two months ago and with the exception of a semester of debauchery in Denmark (just kidding 😉).

Only child of two musicians, she has also a diploma in flute, although she’d rather play the guitar to decompress. She started reading romance novels at the ripe age of 15, when the Night Huntress series came knocking on her door and demanded entrance in her heart. From there it was a slippery slope to the addiction it has now become (not that she regrets anything!). She (how weird is it to write about yourself in third person?! However…) also dedicated herself to writing, in both Italian and English, but hasn’t published anything because her perfectionism won’t let her.

At the moment, she moonlights as a stripper in Las Ve… wait, no, as a graphic designer for indie authors.




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