Today is the last day of my American sojourn. And, I can't wait to go back home (to Rome). Not that I haven't had an amazing time...But, it just seems that every time I come to the USA, it's like ageing: Every day, there's something new I can no longer do.
The information comes in a variety of ways; a trip to the grocery store, and you discover the evils of flouride, fats and now, soap. Who knew that perfectly good bars of soap would be lurking under their foamy surface, just waiting to suds up its evil? (You might say, lyeing in wait -- sorry, another bad pun...) Every shampoo and soap product boasted 'Soap Free!' banners. The world has been using soap for a very long time, now what's the matter with it?
Then, there are the news reports. Forget the Chinese lead in products, things you thought were okay, each day get ruled right back out. Like so many of those fad diets, one day it's good for you, the next it will kill you, you discover: Antioxidants good, now too many break down another feel good chemical in your body. Coffee has been a yo-yo for so long, I need a quick cup of Joe to clear my head and figure it all out. Anti-bacterial soaps are perched on every doorman's counter - but wait! Aren't we making the microbes multiply? But the big clincher this month was breast feeding. Granted, it wasn't an American study...but, 'science' is now showing that baby formula works just as nicely. You mean to tell me, all those years without a Nestle' Crunch Bar, and the Formula's A-OK?
At my nephew's school, kids now are seated in little coffee clutch circles. Knowing how much I used to talk and cause trouble growing up, I cannot for the life of me imagine this arrangement being good for anyone, especially in a position to learn. Just the idea that you were hanging out with your friends rather than sitting at attention to the teacher at the 'head' of the class, would have put me on the fast track to double-secret probation faster than anyone from Animal House.
Add to this, the numerous warning labels on every little package (except, I might note, ironically, those Chinese toys, dog and baby foods); the kids now skiing in helmets, the seatbelts, the baby-proof cupboards and so on.
After two months in America, I still can't figure out how we all made it to adulthood. Back in Italy, where crosswalks aren't labeled, trucks don't have signs to stand back, soaps & detergents are used liberally, irregardless of their effects and babies are happily perched in lap tops, I may actually be able to relax. Or will I?