I’m visiting Santa Cruz just now and my conclusion is this: the thing wrong with America, weird human consciousness notwithstanding, can be expressed in one word: cars. If there weren’t any, all these people would be milling about still, but that would feel cozy rather than threatening – because they wouldn’t be accompanied by and encased in shields of hurtling metal making noise and powering aggressively along all over the place. Everyone’s creativity would be challenged with the conundrum of how to get around, and new things would be thought of, and maybe even old ones – trains!

Lovely, hurtling-but-romantic, far-going, near-stopping trains! Like in Switzerland but not so banklike a vibe. Yeah?