What I like about America is the warmth of the people and their sense of humour. It’s very easy to strike up a conversation or crack a joke with the man in the queue or the woman helping you at a crossroads. I have seen one entire train wagon laugh out loud at my friend’s joke the other day. If you allow me to indulge in some stereotyping, I can say that in England some people would have smirked, others mumbled “Mmm” and others, shaking their head in annoyance, would have gone back to their reading. Unless, of course, they were drunk.
At the Yale Club today I was told off by a zealous security guard before I even pulled the laptop out of my bag. “It’s against the club’s rules, Sir.” “Sorry,” I said. This I can understand – but when I picked up a card at the reception desk I was surprised to see that paper is not allowed either, “as it disrupts the other members’ peace”. So what are you supposed to do when you arrive early for your meeting – stare into the void? Whistle? Make cartwheels? The luddite in me applauded the ban of mobile phones and laptops, but do I dare disturb the universe with a few sheets of paper?
Talking of the paperless world ahead of us – I finally saw someone using one of the alleged one million Kindles sold in the US this year – but it was in the elevator of a publishing company, so I suppose it doesn’t really count, does it?