Thursday, September 11, 2014

Europeans Asked- I answered!

I read this article on Elite Daily and I just had to answer these questions for our friends over the pond!

1. The yellow school buses. I couldn’t believe they were actually a thing when I first went to the US.

Yes they are a thing and I have reasoning as to why they are yellow, other than so they can be easily identified as a school bus.
2. Can you really turn right at a crossroads even if the traffic light is red?

Depending on the signage of the intersection yes.  Sometimes there are those tricky "NO TURN ON RED" signs at which point it would be illegal!
3. It looks as though in all the american TV/movies i have seen that all Americans have to file their own taxes, is this true? In the UK this is done automatically by your employer

While we have to file our own taxes, employers send information so the government knows whether or not we are filing our taxes.
4. Until this afternoon, the gun shops. My mate is in Vegas at the moment and he just posted a pic of him in a shop that looks almost identical to the ones in GTA. I had just assumed that GTA was exaggerating.

Nope, gun stores are a very real and present thing.
5. Are prices in stores marked tax free and they tell you the full price at the checkout?

Yes items are marked tax free and full price with tax is given at checkout.  This is most likely due to coupons and discounts where tax is applied after the coupon/discount is taken.
6. Are house parties common and are they like in the movies ? With +30 drunk people and sex everywhere ?

I have been to several insane house parties.  Once we broke a Tiffany lamp and the fire department was called as the chicken wings caught the grill on fire and I am sure there were people doing it the bedrooms.  This is mostly a 17-21 year old thing, once you are legal to drink this doesn't happen.
7. Can you really end up at an elite university when you’re dumb as a brick but good at sports?

While it is possible, universities are looking for well rounded individuals, not just brains or brawn.  However, it is still possible!
8. Is New York City really as busy as it looks in movies? On TV it looks like there’s a billion people jammed in there, with everyone moving shoulder to shoulder in one huge angry mass and you could lose a child if you blink. Is that just put on for the cameras to look busy? None of the cities here are anywhere like that.

I have never been to New York City, but I believe the city is as packed as the 101 freeway in LA at 5:00 pm everyday!
9. Is it really that risky to walk into a ‘ghetto’ neighborhood in a big city, or is it more something people just ‘say’? Always wondering as we have ‘bad’ neighborhoods here as well, but if you walk through them at night, you really aren’t that much more unsafe than in other parts of cities. In short are there really ‘no go’ area’s?

Yes there truly are unsafe areas to go to at night.  St. Louis, MO for example is consistently in the top three of the FBI's most dangerous cities.  
10. I had a couple from Seattle stay at my flat for a couple days as couchsurfers and I was quite surprised to hear them call each other “honey” or “hon” just like in the movies.

"Honey", "Babe", "Baby" all of those are pretty common and syrupy nicknames.  I prefer 'jerkwad" as my term of endearment.
11. Do people really have air conditioners just hanging out of windows, only held in place by the window itself? It seems crazy unsafe!

Yes, but they are normally chained or secured in some fashion...  It scares me too!
12. Jaywalking; how likely are you to get in trouble for it and what are the punishments like?

I haven't any idea, because I prefer to use crosswalks as to not get a jaywalking ticket!
13. Is there really such a strict attitude towards teenagers drinking alcohol? In the UK zero fucks are given.

Law states at 21 you can legally buy and consume alcohol.  It's a bit ridiculous to me as well!
14. Are the portions of food as big as everyone makes out?
I’ve had a lot of people come back from the states and tell me that the amount of food you get on a plate is insane. (I’m not talking about fine dining here).

It's been researched and yes our food portions are much larger than other countries.  I believe it is part of the reason for the obesity epidemic.
15. Do the police really come to parties where people under the age of 21 are drinking and arrest everyone?

Yes they will and can.  Underage drinking seems to be a big issue with them.  I was fortunate as an underage drinker to just have the sheriffs insist on party goers calling parents.  That is the perk of small town living. 
16. Do you guys seriously use those red cups at parties? Why not just drink straight out of the bottle or can?

Oh the RED SOLO cup!  I used to refer to these as Frat cups because I only ever saw them at Frat parties.  They always seemed to be a bigger deal than they really were.
17. Do you really tip everyone for everything, even if the service was terrible?

It's just rude not to tip for services rendered, even crappy service.  I am big on leaving a note for exceptional or crappy service.  Standard is 15-20% in California.  Crappy service gets 15%, phenomenal gets 20%+ outta me.
18. Is it really flat, dry and arid in some places? I’ve seen pictures or shows of colleges and towns that look like they are in the middle of no where and there are no hills or mountains for miles.
Also, what is a Klondike bar?!

Those would be the plains states.  Yes, it can be EXTREMELY flat and dry in parts of the states.  Just depends where you are at.

Klondike bars are God's gift to Earth!
19. Caucasian. Is that just a term for white people?

Yes.  Why?  I have no idea.  
20. Do you guys really pay everything when having dinner with a girl?

If he is a gentleman, absolutely!
21. Have you really had that Teevo? T-vo? telly on demand thing for like 15 years? It came out in the UK like 3 years ago. Whats going on?

Is TiVo around anymore?  I have no idea- I am all about Netflix and the DVR!
22. Why does everyone live in dormitories on campus at University? In Australia, that is pretty much completely unheard of. You either stay living at home, or live in a share house off campus.

It's called the college experience.  I didn't move onto campus, I lived with my parents.  
23. The depiction of your high schools fascinates me.
Do you really split yourselves up into clear groups like nerds/freaks/jocks/coolkids/stoners and all that? Do you really walk around dressed up in those identikit costumes from the tv shows and only sit with and talk to the others of that group?
 My school didin't really have groups like that.  We all knew each other (graduating class of 360).  I think the reasoning was several years before I was in high school there was a definite seperation which caused a fight to break out at an event leaving one teenager brain dead.  
Do bullies in your schools really have an entourage of yes men who act that sycophantically and be in the background like “yeah” when the bully says something? Do bullies really do overt stuff like trip kids up in lunch hall and spill their food trays or give them wedgies and how on earth does this not end up in dozens of fistfights? We didn’t have “geeks” as such when I was in school, people were slightly more well rounded lol… but I would say even the dorkiest goofiest kid wouldn’t just stand there and take that.
I never witnessed this.  I am sure there were occurrences in locker rooms, but I minded my own business and never really saw this stereotype go down.
Do you really have events where you gather the whole school in the gym and yell and sing songs about how great the school is with speeches and stuff… for the sports team?
Yes, they are called "Pep Rallies" and it's to get everyone geared up for the big game.  We had monthly assemblies that turned to quarterly assemblies with a couple of pep rallies peppered in.  They were fun... I miss them!
Do the alphabetti government organisations whose acronyms nobody can keep track of really just wave a magic badge at people and get instant compliance and deference straight away?
If you are a law abiding citizen, then hell yes they do!  If you aren't, you most likely will run.
24. Is there really that many obese people?
Obesity seems to be an epidemic here in the States.  We have many fast food chains, but in addition to that we eat what we eat based mostly off of convenience and that means it isn't always the healthiest choice.  
25. Is everyone in California a surfer or lifeguard?

That would be a negative ghost rider.  I am Southern California born and raised and I have NEVER surfed.  
26. Why are Americans obsessed with saying ‘ass’ all the time? Everything was ‘bad-ass’ this or ‘big-ass’ that and every insult seems to include ‘ass’ eg. ‘asshole’, ‘jackass’ etc. TC mark
Because "ass" is such a great word.  We pick up on something and before ya know it, it is a national epidemic of grammar inadequacies.  

Answering those was a bit reminiscent of MySpace surveys...  I sure do miss those days!

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