Over the course of that brief civilization certain trends emerged: a preponderance of skyscrapers, hyperactive modernity, and a valorization of the personal automobile. Parking lots dominated and at the end of its second century important regional centers emerged. These formed an excerpted America amongst the endless massif central of imprecise nothing and farmland overlaid by roads. Metal capsules propelled hopeless optimists into the hearts of these cities; meanwhile a certain residual respect clung to property and the written word.
It was a nation of individualists, with its good – endless self-realization, refusal to form herd mentalities – inextricably bound up with its bad – repulsive selfishness, exurban sprawl. Here the logical consequences of human life conceived of as a personal adventure could be observed, as well as the intense congress of people of diverse origins. Somehow this endless diversity in material goods and personal attitudes resulted in a sense of great sadness in me. In order to understand whether this sadness was personal or American I left where in fact it might have been better to stay.