You can take the girls out of America…

but you can’t take the American out of the girls. I had been i-chatting with Kat this week and we realized that we both had some shopping to do on the weekend–she for shoes for her girls, and me for fall/winter clothes for work. So we made up a plan for her to come gather me, from the outskirts of my market town, and to go into town and do our shopping. I thus got to catch up with Kat in between our shopping missions, which was great because it had been ages since I’d seen her. The funny thing about friends made via blogs and Twitter and the like is that even though I had not seen her in a while, we were not exactly out of date. So hanging out is just fun, not about catching up with details. She also brought her lovely daughters, who are my adopted nieces.

Navigating the English shopping mall’s multi-story car park in Kat’s vehicle is an adventure in and of itself. She has a very brightly colored SUV brought over from America, which means it has the driver on the left (as it bloody well should be!) But this is England so the ticket machines to get into and out of the parking deck are on the right-hand side of the car. This means that I have a little job to do when sitting in the passenger seat, one that prevents Kat from having to crawl across or even around the car to deal with the ticket machines. And that challenge surmounted, we go on to attempt to park an American SUV in a car park optimized for tiny little VW Polos and the like. Amusement all around.

Having finished our shopping, we decided to go to McDonald’s for an early dinner. I know, I know, I already said you can’t take the American out of the girls. And her daughters are particularly big fans. We had intended to go in to eat, but the parking lot was inexplicably full. We thus decided to go through the drive-through and go back to my flat, which is about two blocks from McD’s. (And although I’ve in this strategically located flat since July, I had not been there even once yet, I swear!) And here’s where I become amused: at the McD’s drive-through here in England they did not have one of those microphone things into which you yell your order. No siree. They had two boys, standing outside in the pouring rain in fluorescent jackets, taking your order by walking up to your car window, asking what you wished for and then punching it into one of those little hand-held computers with a stylus. I for one was relieved, because I thought at first that as the passenger person on the right, I would have to relate the entire order into the microphone thingy myself, thus potentially making myself responsible if there was a slight cheeseburger disaster with one of Kat’s girls. In the end, we got back to my place after collecting all the food and the jerks got the kids’ cheeseburgers right and shorted us adults one of our packets of fries. Oh well. All in a fun day out being super American and all of that.

6 responses to “You can take the girls out of America…

  1. Thankfully where I rubbed that pole with the Jeep will just rub off. Can you imagine the Man’s reaction if I had actually done damage to the car in a car park. I would never live it down! It was bad enough when I hit the wall in the carpark with him *in* the car. Multi-level car parks are just not meant for big cars. Now I know just go to the top level where there are no poles to navigate around!

    • I did not mention the little pole incident but since you did… that was hilarious. I have done that twice in my life, once where it did damage the paint in my own car and once where it did rub off in someone else’s car. Terrifying in both cases.

  2. What a miserable job, standing in the rain taking people’s orders.

  3. I find many of the multi-story parking places here to be very tricky to back up and navigate around. It really raises the stress levels just squeezing in or pulling out. And then once in the slot, the challenge is how to inch out without scratching the next car. IN any case, so cool that you all had a fun day. :)
    p.s., Interesting that they have a very hands-on drive-thru order-taking system. (too many hyphenated words)

  4. Wow! Why did Kat end up bringing the car over?

  5. Rhea- my husband is US military and when we moved here we had the option to ship one car over on the govt’s dime. Since we had just purchased the car it would have been a nightmare to try to sell it. So, yes, I get the lovely task of driving an American car here. It isn’t as bad as you would expect except for tiny parking spaces. I HATE parking spaces here.

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