The stereotype of Americans being car-obsessed and driving hugely over-powered, oil-pissing, monsters is without question, let alone guilt, sadly true for the most part. I’ve never seen more obnoxiously brutal, huge and wasteful SUVs as there are in this city. Even in the old parts of town, where the roads are tiny and utterly fucked (no road tax here) they drive 6 litre V8 powered behemoths like they’re on airport runways.
The car is everything to most people here, and if you can’t drive there, it probably isn’t worth going. That includes bars and pubs. Out in the burbs, where “normal” people want to live, no only are there no pubs, but they’re are frequently no pavements! They’re not just unaware of pedestrians, they seem actively antagonistic towards them. But why the hell would you want pavements anyway ? What are you, a commie queer ?
So, how do the vast armies of jocks and Sharons get to those huge, soulless beer barns that pass as bars ?
The answer is so simple and so obvious that it’s a mystery we didn’t think of it before – they just drink and drive! The best of both worlds.
Luckily, in the city, especially and old city like Philly, they have public transport. In fact, it’s pretty bloody good too. The locals all slag it off for the same reasons that Londoners slag off TFL, and they are just as wrong. TFL is superb, as is SEPTA. Whilst SEPTA doesn’t have anywhere near as comprehensive services as TFL, by some mysterious means, they manage to make the buses stick to the timetables. Incredible, but true. All you need to do is look up the next time the bus is due and leave the pub a few minutes before. Bingo – cheap chauffeur service. The city also provides a plethora of cheap neighbourhood bars within walking distance. Thank god.
Even though we have our own gas guzzler ourselves (with a 3.8L engine – bloody hell) rather than find it the key to liberation and happiness that the advertisers claim it to be, it’s been a very useful, very expensive, pain in the arse. And we didn’t even pay for it.