Sunday, January 07, 2007

Okay, I have to weigh in on this one...

Okay, so Polka-dancing Cope sited his friend Monica's Blog's "List of Strange Things" comparing British-ish stuff to American-ish stuff.

I found her blog through Cope's, about two years ago, and she's "added to the list" since I last read it. So... Thanks to Cope for reminding me about it, and thanks to Monica for actually DOING it. It was a brilliant idea, and damn, I wish I had thought of it.

That being said, like most people, I'm going to throw up a truncated listing of things that Monica thought was weird, as I basically agree with her. The funny thing, is that if you read the comments (at the bottom of her "list") a lot of Britishers got a bit arsey with her. Now, as a Yank who makes fun of his OWN country, much more often than making fun of Britain, I want to tell all those folks to calm the heck down! Okay... So, here's a few of the highlights from her list that I also found extremely strange, whilst living in Britain. (Little note, she thought "whilst" was a 'strange thing,' which obviously, I do NOT. I love that word.) Okay... Here we go:

Strange Thing #1: People here are so nice it's almost scary!

I didn't find this. Not that some people WEREN'T nice, but they tended to resemble my fellow Minnesotans... "Nice" on the surface, but tending towards the passive-aggressive.

Strange Thing #3: They call "juice," "squash!"

Poor Monica got HAMMERED on this one in the comments. People from all over Britain took the piss saying "juice is fruit juice, not squash" which in my experience is true. Funny thing... In Canterbury, squash was made with a concentrated fruit-like syrup, and was either called "squash" or "cordial" Usually you MADE a squash out of cordial. My wife (from Scotland) called the syrupy stuff "diluting juice" and continues to argue with me when I call it cordial. So... Semantics are important, I guess.

Strange Thing #6: They drink Aftershock.

I rather liked Aftershock, but usually only after I was already in the "drooling on myself" phase.

Strange Thing #10: There are two types of light bulbs here. And if you are unaware of this fact, and try to fit the wrong bulb in, you will short circuit your brand new lamp and cause the fuse to blow.

I hated the freaking light-bulbs! There are MORE than just two, and I always bought the wrong one when I tried to replace a bulb. There's BIG-bayonet, LITTLE-bayonet, BIG-screw and LITTLE-screw, and it annoyed the PISS out of me.

Strange Thing #11: Text messages in this country are the primary mode of communication.

Well, texting WAS pretty 'in' in Britain. And at first, I found it strange... But now I continuously bother my "Yank-friends" by texting them, rather than calling them. Hey, habits are hard to break. That being said... I was looking for one of my "Student Workers" at my job, and I sent him a text. His response: "You're too OLD to text message people." TOO OLD? PISS off!

Strange Thing #12: Men here are not afraid to admit they like sappy movies.

Monica's met some weird men. I never met a guy in Canterbury who would admit to watching anything except sports!

Strange Thing #20: The wide range of available flavors of crisps (a.k.a. potato chips.)

Yeah, "meat-flavoured" crisps... Still VERY disgusting. I still lean towards the more normal (to me) crisp flavours like: Sour Cream and Onion, Sour Cream and Cheddar, and BBQ... (wait a minute.)

Strange Thing #22: They don't have dryer sheets. (Actually they do, but they are damn hard to come across.)

This is because they don't BLOODY WELL HAVE CLOTHES DRYERS! What the HELL is that, anyway??? Two years of HELL that's what it was! I was actually washing My Lady's work uniform yesterday and thought, "Thank GODS I live here now, and can actually use a dryer!"

Strange Thing #25: Serious lack of decent Mexican food.

True. Very, very TRUE! It's been great to come back here, and get some proper Mexican. Of course, there's a dearth of "Mexicans" that LIVE in Britain, so... It's understandable. However, I really, really missed it. For the record, My Lady is now QUITE addicted to Mexican food, and it's a "regret" that we'll both share when we move back to Britain.

Strange Thing #26: Fee-less ATMs (or cashpoints or hole-in-the-walls as they are called here.)

No so much a "strange thing" more of a "glorious thing." Freaking Yank-Banks!

Strange Thing #28: It's not "How are you?" when greeting someone, it's "You alright?"

This is pretty much a "South-Eastern/Londoner" thing. However, I always found it to be an annoying greeting. Every time someone asked me that, I had to fight a compulsion to visually check out my body, wondering if I was dragging around a bleeding intestine or something.

#33: Mother's Day is the last Sunday of Lent in the UK (falls in March) but it's the second Sunday of May in the US. But Father's Day is the third Sunday in June for both.

Mother's day... Yep... It always caused a problem, and continues to do so. The stores don't carry the damn cards at the right time of year, thus causing difficulties when dealing with Mothers/Mother-in-laws...

#37: The variation in daylight

It's very temperate in Britain, which makes you forget how bloody far North it is... My first Winter in Britain, I thought I was above the Arctic Circle! The sun would come up seemingly at 10:00am, and was setting by 1:30pm. (okay, I am obviously exaggerating, but it SEEMED to be like that.)

#39: Different names for the same vegetables.

For a country that purportedly dislikes the French, they use a heck of a lot of "French Names" for vegetables. "Aubergines" instead of "Egg Plant", "Courgettes" instead of "Zucchini" et al...

#41: It’s not a “costume party”; they call it a “fancy dress party”!

This one tends to "get" Americans all the time... Luckily, a friend warned me that my tuxedo was not going to work for the first "Fancy Dress" party I was invited to. Usually, Yanks are forced to say they're "Going as 007" or something.

#46: Televised Dart Competitions

One of the comments in her list was "Monster Trucks." I would like to point out to said British person... We don't fill up our NORMAL GOOD STATIONS with "trucks" for two weeks at a bloody time. In fact... I've never had my "normal programming" preempted by a two-week stint of ANY sporting event... (Cricket... Football... Rugby... Billards???) we have SPORTS channels for that sort of crap. Keep it off my terrestrial stations, please!

#47: Pancake Day!

The fact that they AREN'T actually pancakes, but crepes always bugged me. In fact, the only place you could ever FIND "REAL" pancakes was on the grocery-bread aisle. Pre-cooked, and ready for the toaster. YUCK!

#50: "Whilst"

Again, I think it's a bril word.

Well... Now that I've stolen someone ELSE'S brilliant idea for my own purposes, I once again say thanks to Monica for her wonderful list.

See ya,