- Reliable public transportation, or public transportation at all. In the US, at least in California, without a car you are lost. There is Caltrain, the railway from San Francisco to San Jose, there is BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which connects San Francisco with the East Bay, but there are very few buses. On many stops there is no timetable, so you never know if there is even a vague chance of a bus within the next two hours. However, the buses that exist have bike racks, so you can even ride your bike on the bus.
Rating: Hopeful, but still a long way to go.
- Milk without added vitamin D, and chips that do not claim to contain no trans fats. Before my stay in the US I did not even know about the existence of trans fats and I did not care much about vitamin D. Now I cannot even buy pure, simple, elementary milk.
Rating: Hopeless, the food industry has way too much power.
- The right to drink a beer without the obligation to put a brown paper bag around the bottle. The law of the open bottle says that it is illegal to drink alcohol on public places. You may not even drive with empty cans or bottles in your car. The drinking age is 21 in most states.
Rating: Hypocritical, moderate drinking in public should not be illegal.
- The smell of tobacco after eating in a restaurant or visiting a club. California has one of the most advanced anti-smoking laws in the world. Smokers are banned from workplaces, restaurants, bars, clubs... It took me a while to understand why many bars are crowded on the outside and not the inside.
Rating: Awesome, I wish Europe would be that far already.
- A clear distinction of who is a cop, and who is just a security guy. Very often I cannot tell the difference between the different uniforms and cars. Who has governmental authority, and who has not? May a private security crew put a drunk guy in a police-like looking car and drive him off? I simply do not know, but I guess they would have weak arguments before court. However, security 'arresting' people to my attention happens quite often.
Rating: Sad, private security becomes more and more normal.
A Look Inside the Think Tank...