10 Feb 2008
At JFK, very late at night, I squinted, bleary-eyed into the webcam and pressed my left index finger hard down on the glowing red fingerprinting square: the visa waiver programme is no longer the shoe-in it was in the nineties. "I am English" I murmured, "You know? The only country on your side in the War on Terror? Now introducing Sharia Law in the Home Counties?"
The crew-cut young immigration official remained unimpressed
- "Business? So what do you do?"
- "You work for a bank, OK, but what exactly do you do?"
- "Waddyamean, 'indescribable'?"
Reader, I tried to explain but it was no use; eventually we settled on 'rogue trader', my passport was stamped and I was in, yellow-cabbing excitedly toward the Mid-Town Tunnel, tracking my progress, while updating my Facebook profile, on the on-board cab computer.
I love America!
Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, and also domain of No Loitering Laws.
So how does that work? You can be arrested for standing still?
I didn't stand still. After work I had to visit Abercrombie and Fitch (again). All the way to 57th Street and back in time for dinner.
You can eat a lot of dinner in New York, and in Dos Caminos on Wednesday night, I ate a lot of dinner. I was excited! I think I have found the perfect Margarita. I asked our wait staff person the secret - was it the more expensive Tequila she had upsold us? No, she said, it was the very freshly hand-squeezed lime juice. How fresh? Well let's just say twenty bucks changed hands and we were led, with some trepidation, down to the basement where we found a team of sub-prime borrowers squeezing limes for minimum wage. It's the American Way, she explained: needs must and money talks.
Back in the office, time is money, and I saw the coolest labour saving device ever: A digital photo frame with a remote control. You never need to lean forward again. Only in America.
What will those crazy Americans think of next?