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June 23, 2004 

I used to miss him, but my aim’s better now.

I used to miss him, but my aim’s better now.

The fabulous title of a (probably crap) book about how to survive a breakup. I heard it on the radio at 7:30 this morning, and I blame it entirely for the fact that today I have mainly been singing ”I used to love him, but it’s all over now” in my head. I wouldn’t mind, but that’s the only line of the song I know!

I was driving to get something to eat last night, when I was struck, again, by American driving rules. They don’t really have roundabouts, and instead of mini-roundabouts use stop signs. Actually, they seem to use stop signs everywhere. The rule is, if you get to the stop line first, you get to go first. Makes sense. However, the main road through the shopping area (a bit like Teesside Park, for those of you who had that wonderful experience at our wedding) is two lanes each way. At every car park entrance there’s stop lines across every lane, usually forming a cross roads. And everybody stops. Even if there’s not another car in sight. The one that particularly annoys me is the one that isn’t a cross roads – there’s only one carpark entrance, on one side of the road, and that’s shut for re-covering. And people still stop. It makes for a bumpy journey.

Yesterday I was introduced to this wonderful website. My boss showed me this so that I could see where the hotel was, and if it was going to be a bad drive home. For those of you who are particularly bothered, the hotel I’m staying in is south east of the intersection of I-95 and 595. However, usually we hear the thunder first. The storms get very bad here, and they have very strict rules relating to swimming pools and lightening. Either light meters are fitted, or if there’s kids in a lesson the coaches carry them. As soon as it registers over a certain level the pool is evacuated. There must be a certain length of time between the last flash and re-entry, to ensure it really was the last flash. It’s amazing to be somewhere that you can have outdoor pools, and still have storms that require precautions like that.

On another subject entirely, I have to say that I love the American dedication to customer service. Everybody is very happy to help, from waiters to hotel staff, to just the lovely lady in the post office yesterday. With waiters I suspect this partially stems from the fact that it is almost compulsory to tip them (15-20% is the going rate over here). In a restaurant I feel that they earn it, as much as anybody does, and the service is certainly better than in the UK – unlimited drinks refills seem ubiquitous. However, although the staff are unerringly lovely and helpful at breakfast time, I still haven’t had a decent cup of tea. I don’t begrudge a dollar or two, but I do feel like Arthur Dent – I want to sit them down and explain about how tea should work. However, I haven’t had a complaint yet about customer service, and it’s a very rare week in England that I can say that. Maybe I’ll move over here… but not until they can make tea.