I rose early and caught the shuttle to LAX. I took a seat up front and to cut the boredom struck up a converrsation with the driver who told me he'd immagrated from Kolkata, India, the year before. "Really," I said, "I was just there."
"What was your impression?" he asked.
I thought back to the week I'd spent in a decaying hotel in a ravaged Kolkata neighborhood. Images flashed through my mind of crumbling buildings, broken streets, air chokingly filthy, skeleton mothers with skeleton babies living on the streets and begging for scraps. It had been a real eye-opener. "Well," I said, "it was, uh, interesting..."
"It's a hell-hole," the driver said, cutting my bullshit short, "I could not wait to get out." We were on the freeway now, traffic was moving smoothly along the expanse of the four-lane. He indicated the highway with a sweeping gesture, "Look at what you have here in America. Everything is clean and modern. Everyone has enough food to eat. Even the beggars are overweight. Sometimes I think many Americans don't appreciate what you have."
"Right," I said, "we're a spoiled lot with arrogant tendancies. I've noticed that too."
"I hear Americans complain about taxes and government regulations," the driver continued. "It always amazes me, they don't seem to understand that nice roads and clean water cost money. Let them move to India where the taxes are low and environmental regulations are non-existant. Maybe they'd be happy there!"
"Yeah," I said, "it's a regular Neoconservative Utopia."
"Ayn Rand would be right at home," the driver said.