I know now that I was quite naive coming to America. I thought that it would be just the same as home, just, you know, more like on the telly. Maybe a little swearier and with a touch more god.
But the crazies in this city seem a little crazier. The people more beautiful, definitely skinnier, probably richer. The diamonds are bigger, the politics more extreme.
Shopping is both cheaper and more expensive. Sitting in this park, I can see the mansion that belongs to Danielle Steele. It takes up a whole city block and has its own carriage entrance. There are houses in the paper for sale for $45 million dollars.
Dog walkers fill the parks. Nannies fill the parks. Women in yoga pants fill Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, small and tasteful boutiques.
Children are treated as little adults, tiny little employers, special snowflakes who can be forgiven anything and who should be given everything. They are on a tight leash; no further away from an adult than a few metres. Strangers are confused when Remy talks to them; kids don't speak to strangers here. The strangers have all been so kind to him, playing along with his superhero games, being good sports when he shoots them.
The food is confusing. The variety of products is astounding. The amount of corn syrup unimaginable and almost impossible to avoid.
People stand for others on the buses. It's more than good manners; there is a strong feeling of community and looking after each other here. Except when they don't, because sometimes they won't. There are signs around the parks telling us all not to befriend the animals because it makes them more aggressive. The animals they are talking about are coyotes. Seriously, coyotes. It's like being in a foreign country sometimes.