The Vegas presidential campaign debate starts in a matter of hours, and I can’t help think, who would win in a fight? Hilary Clinton or Theresa May? US v UK… What special skills would each leader bring to the ring? Which country is the greater power? I’m matching the ladies for this battle because Trump can’t be trusted around women anymore.
I appreciate I’m a little off-piste here as this is not my normal subject matter (whatever that is). But while we’re all consumed with the big ticket items like war, taxes, healthcare and employment, I would like to bring to your attention some things we can learn from our Atlantic neighbours. There are many first world problems both countries have successfully solved, yet they haven’t taken off on the other side of the pond. Here’s my US v UK showdown of first world problems, solutions, special skills and offerings. You decide who wins:
First world problems solved by the US:
Problem: Finding a parking space on the high-street and getting to the ATM in the rain when you’re already late for work.
Solution: Drive-through ATM. Mind blown… It’s genius.
Problem: You want to walk your dog but the park says you have to keep it on a leash. You ignore this and get shouted at by parents of small children.
Solution: Dog parks. Enclosed play areas for dogs to socialise and do their business, including waste bins, shady benches, water stations and sometimes even paddling pools and free poop bags.
Problem: You live beyond walking distance from school, yet if you drive and drop off outside the gates you get told off and moved on while causing a traffic jam.
Solution: Car lines. You queue up, a teacher comes to the car door, picks up your kid, and you are free to drive straight to Starbucks (yes, you can get drive through coffee too!).
First world problems solved by the UK:
Problem: Sitting in the car in a daily traffic jam to commute to work.
Solution: Public transport. Last year we moved from The Woodlands, Texas, a town with a population of 125,000 people and commutable to Houston. No trains and no buses.
Problem: You’re vacuuming the house and suddenly lose power. You turn to see the plug has pulled out of the wall socket… again.
Solution: The three pin plug. UK plugs fit snuggly into the socket. The pins are chunky and there’s three of them – simple. UK wall sockets also have a switch for each outlet meaning you can switch of the power before pulling the plug instead of dodging the sparks.
Problem: You get to the supermarket (that’s a grocery store Team US), park up and find you can barely open the car door let alone lift a 30lb (that’s 2st 2lb Team UK) child out of the small space between the cars.
Solution: Parent and child spaces. There is general acknowledgment in the UK that parents are all a bit special needs. So, the supermarkets provide wider spaces located close to the entrance to make our life easier. Team US you may lift your jaw from the floor at this point.
Special Skills of the US People:
- Service with a smile – Miserable Brits like to call this being ‘fake’, but having lived here a while now I can assure you it is not. People are nice, work hard for tips and genuinely want you to have a nice day.
- Charity – A borderline addiction for some, Americans are always raising money for something. The tax laws allow rebates for donations to schools or church, and there’s always a kid at the door selling cookies. You can’t knock community spirit and kindness, even if being badgered for money all the time is a tad annoying.
- Pumping breast milk – Most working US mothers are stuck going back to the office when their babies are 6wks old. Despite this more mothers breastfeed their babes in the US than in the UK, because they are all busy pumping away at work to build up that freezer stash. Talk about multi-tasking.
Special Skills of the UK People:
- Sense of humour teamed with a fancy accent – In your face Team US… think how many cookies Ricky Gervais could have sold when he was at school?
- Vocabulary – Brits use nearly all the words Americans do but yet elaborate their conversation with many many more. These words are not only pleasing to the ear and often funny, but also weren’t used in the previous sentence. Living in the US, I am almost completely immune to the words ‘cute’ and ‘awesome’.
- Stiff upper lip – When you bump into a fellow Brit down the pub and ask how they are, they will say they’re ‘good’ or ‘alright’ and move on. This may be despite having an ingrowing toenail removed, a two hour chemo session and a funeral earlier that day. Brits will put on a brave face no matter what, because there is a time and a place for those conversations, and it’s not the pub.
US Material Offerings:
- BBQ food – Team UK I do not mean putting a frozen Birdseye patty on a disposable foil tray with coal in it;
- Roads wide enough for two cars to pass each other – Driving on UK country roads is terrifying every time.
- Pie – Apple, cherry, pumpkin, pecan, key lime, Mississippi mud…
- Taking home leftovers – Taking home food you have paid for, which will otherwise be thrown in the trash, does not make you a peasant. All restaurants of all price ranges in the US will ask if you want your food boxed… Lunch tomorrow sorted.
UK Material Offerings:
- Thick cut unsmoked back bacon – What is that? Go to Britain and find out.
- Cars that run at 80mpg – Good old fashioned engineering and design, mixed with sensible purchasing, well done Brits. OK, the US gallon is smaller than the UK gallon, however that’s still 66mpg compared with the 18 I get in my mine.
- Chocolate – The US do make chocolate, but you really don’t want to eat it.
- Pubs – You can not beat a pint in a 300yr old pub when it’s cold and drizzly outside. The blazing fire, pub dog and a ceiling so low you have to duck as you enter. They won’t have ice or lemon, and the glasses will probably not shine, but it doesn’t matter. You can’t knock a good British pub.
In conclusion, before I waffle on any more, I’m ringing the final bell. US v UK, Hilary v Theresa… Who has solved more first world problems? Who has the superior skills and offerings? As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been here in the US for a while now and as a result, things are starting to rub off on me. I wouldn’t know which way to vote…You decide, and let me know your thoughts 😉