I imagine the world is a big place. But it doesn't seem that way.
it's big. And it sure took a lot of time
to go the length we did, both by plane and car.
But I'm accustomed to videogames
, where I can go from a boiling hot desert with erupting volcanoes and flying lava and rock-monsters attack
to a frozen forest with no gravity and funny-looking animal-people who live in invisible shoes
just by taking an elevator
. So my standards aren't in sync with the Real World.
The Real World isn't so exquisitely designed. Once we left the airport, apart from the language difference we might as well have still been in Tel Aviv. Roads, roads, and more roads awaited us. And here's the kicker: They were black
stripes and green
What? That doesn't
shock you? Well, it should! What a lack of imagination! Would it have killed
these countries to be original? Where's the place, I asked everyone around, with pink
roads? Where's the place where the roads are all underground
See, I don't think it's enough for each place you go to to have different coordinates
on the map. I think each place should feel
different. How were the roads here any different than the Israeli roads? Hmmm:
- The traffic lights were slightly different.
- There were more pronounced sidewalks.
- Did I mention the traffic lights? Oh, and there were fewer zebra-striped crosswalks too.
Already you can see that the price of the plane ticket was totally
We actually crossed the border into Canada, but if it weren't for the different pictures on the crossing lights and the font
on the road signs, I might never have known. The roads looked the same there too.
And why is it that every car looks the same
? I know people always think I'm stupid for asking that but- They do! Where are the one-seaters? Where are the triple-decker ones? Where are the long thin ones with three seats, one in back of the other? Where are the ones where the driver is underneath
the rest of the seats, by the wheels? Or on top of the roof, where he can get a real view
And not only were they all the same design, but they all seemed to be the same boring colors
as well! I couldn't have picked our rented car out from the rest in a parking lot, because they were all the same color. What good is having a DVD player on the inside, when on the outside it looks so bland? (How bland? Well, I can't remember what color it was- that's
how bland.) Where were the cars with polka dots
So what about the people? Surely, you ask, I met hundreds
of interesting people while driving all that distance?
Heh. No, I'm just kidding- I know you didn't ask that. I mean, everyone knows
that the last thing you'll see on the road
is a human being! (Except for the oddly friendly American cops, who are too busy doing their two jobs
to actually be human.) It's the beauty of progress- once upon a time, everyone walked
everywhere through lovely forests and lava-filled monster-ridden deserts, and along the way they met everyone else
who happened to be walking. (It should be noted that back then, roads probably looked different from each other
.) Then one day Mr. Ford came along, and everyone could finally hide their individuality from everyone else inside identical boxes of metal. And humanity, as a whole, breathed a sigh of relief.
Oh yes, people love to pretend they're no different from everyone else. My father was constantly insisting that I tuck in my tzitzit
, because having them out would stand out too much in America. And then he also forced me to shave off my beard, and even the little messy tufts of hair on my cheeks! I liked
those blatantly asymmetrical tufts. You look at the messy-tufts, and you say, "That's Mory.". Or at least that was the plan, which was why I was growing them at different lengths. He forced me to shave the messy-tufts off, so that I'd look more "normal" for the bar mitzvah pictures. Bleh!
There's one place where, horror of horrors, you actually have to see
people who look different than you, and that's waiting on a line. While we were on a line for the "Maid of the Mist
", we saw a bunch of Amish people. I don't think I'd seen any Amish before. My family thought they looked weird
, and I think they saw that as a bad thing.
Myself, I thought they looked weird too. But weird is good! See, if someone looks
different than you, you start to wonder if they live
different too. If you were to see someone whose legs sprouted out of the top of his head and walked upside-down, you'd wonder if gravity was reversed where he lived and they all walked on ceilings. And that's a good thing to think about! Every time you see weirdness
, the world grows
The real problem is all the people who don't
stand out, because as far as anyone else is concerned they don't exist.
They're just a shadow of the larger culture, not individuals. They might as well be doing a job and wearing uniforms for all the humanity they display. Because ultimately, humanity is all about that weirdness, I think.
And people are
weird, whether or not they show it. I bet every person in those cars is a fascinating individual in his own right. But driving through identical road after road, seeing them only as the inside of a metal box, you'd never know it.
I imagine the world really is
a big place. But it doesn't seem that way.