Dog seat (rude) (PG)
An American soldier, serving in World War II, had just returned from several weeks of intense action on the German front lines. He had finally been granted R&R and was on a train bound for London.
The train was very crowded, so the soldier walked the length of the train, looking for an empty seat. The only unoccupied seat was directly adjacent to a well dressed middle aged lady and was being used by her little dog.
The war weary soldier asked, ''Please, ma'am, may I sit in that seat?''
The English woman looked down her nose at the soldier, sniffed and said, ''You Americans. You are such a rude class of people. Can't you see my Little Fife is using that seat?''
The soldier walked away, determined to find a place to rest, but after another'' trip down to the end of the train, found himself again facing the woman with the dog.
Again he asked, ''Please, lady. May I sit there? I'm very tired.''
The English woman wrinkled her nose and snorted, ''You Americans! Not only are you rude, you are also arrogant. Imagine!''
The soldier didn't say anything else; he leaned over, picked up the little dog, tossed it out the window of the train and sat down in the empty seat.
The woman shrieked and railed, and demanded that someone defend her and chastise the soldier.
An English gentleman sitting across the aisle spoke up, ''You know, sir, you Americans do seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You eat holding the fork in the wrong hand. You drive your autos on the wrong side of the road. And now, sir, you've thrown the wrong bitch out the window.''
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begins with Interstate 80. Not the most engaging topic, I know, but when you think about it, I-80 runs all the way across the North American continent linking San Francisco and New York. It's not just a ribbon of asphalt, it's a portal to far away, almost magical places.
My visits to major cities like Tokyo, London and Washington DC have been business affairs. I haven't rode a lot of roller coasters or ridden in open air buses, but I have visited with senators, bought yams from the back of a truck and barely escaped complete embarrassment when I was introduced to Matt Wiener in Vegas.
As I wrote the book I realized that over the years exotic, distant places have become more like the mundane places I've called home. But, as it turns out, there really aren't any mundane places, only mundane ways of looking at things.
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