Writing about gluttony, I can't help think that if Italy deserves the Sloth award, America surely deserves a medal for Gluttony. How many times have we all read about, witnessed, chided, pontificated about America's all consuming Gluttony, me most definitely included.
America, the land of gluttons. The land of obesity, consumerism run wild, Big Gulps, Super Sizes, huge obnoxious SUV's, killer air conditioning that knocks you over, gadgets and trinkets of every imaginable size and shape. The land of immense watered lawns, of drive-thru liquor stores, the Home Shopping Channel. For anyone who has ever lived as an expat like I did for 15 years, looking on your homeland from afar at first feels pretty embarassing, and then pretty funny. You can't help but join in the ridicule, which is, after all, well-deserved.
But as I love to do so much in this blog, I have a confession to make. Now that I have returned to the land of gluttons after so many years among those frugal Europeans, I am literally wallowing in all that is gluttonous about America... and loving it. What are these sinful pleasures that I'm indulging in?
My American refrigerator! Oh the joy I feel stocking my groceries in that gorgeous, roomy sparkling white refrigerator with its many drawers and fat freezer. My Italian refrigerator was brand new and costly, but let me tell you that there is just no comparison to my 10 year old Maytag here!
Gallon jugs of fresh milk! My children are in ecstasy, as am I. American milk is cold and fresh and comes out of those big jugs that last for more than a day, and that cost only $2.99. When my children were small in Italy, I would buy the fresh one liter bottles of milk, but as time wore on and they grew into these huge creaures that they have become, that just got too expensive. Fresh milk, like most things, costs a fortune in Italy, so I was forced to buy the UHT milk, which frankly doesn't come anywhere near the real thing.
My magical dryer! I know what you're thinking, that there are dryers in Italy, too. Well, that's true, at least recently, but they cost a fortune, and electricity costs even more. I know that whole air dried laundry thing looks romantic, but it really is a drag! And there aren't fabric softener sheets in Italy, so what's the point?
We're open all day, seven days a week! Oh, this really is heaven! I can go to the dreaded supermarket whenever I want to. I can go to the bank from 9 to 6 Monday through Friday, and even (gasp!) 9 to 1 on Saturdays. I can have breakfast at noon, and dinner at 5 if I feel like it. For those of you who don't know anything about life in Italy, let's just say things are very, very rigid, and shops and businesses are rarely open when you need them. Not to mention restaurant hours...
Shopping the outlets! Unmitigated consumerism, but I can finally find affordable clothes for my kids, and jeans that don't ride so low that I wind up showing flesh best kept a secret. My fellow Italian expats will surely know exactly what I'm talking about!
And the most gluttonous treasure of all... Space! Glorious, endless, open, unfettered space. As much space and crystal clean air as I want to gulp down just for me. Enough space for my kids and I to sing Yellow Submarine at the top of our lungs in the middle of a field of wild flowers without being heard. Enough space to share it with the deer and beavers, and to see a fox with a bushy red tail crossing Main Street. Enough space to compete with the immense sky above.Enough space to be the only fisherman on the lake.
I confess. I have become the ultimate American glutton.