Oh dear me, I’m becoming British

I was standing in the queue at the bus stop in the center of town this evening after work. There is a bus shelter with a little leaning bench, and I had obediently gotten in line behind the guy who was already there, as one does. Out of nowhere came two teenage or college-age students, speaking to each other in rapid-fire Spanish, and wearing the backpacks that identified them as students at one of the local English Language training schools. They walked up to where the bus door would, in a few minutes when it arrived, be located for us to board. I was sitting there fuming to myself, thinking “these foreigners, how dare they ignore the queue.” My how times have changed.

I exited the bus at my local megamart and proceeded to buy everything I needed except the one thing I would not last the evening without: toilet paper. (I have not become sufficiently British to say “loo roll” — yet!) I realized this as I was walking the 3/4 mile home, carrying my two “bags for life” full of everything else I needed (and a few things I didn’t need). I started thinking to myself, “thank goodness I’m in England and there’s another small mart (larger than a convenience store but not a full-sized supermarket) only two blocks from home. If I was in America I’d have to get back in the car and return to the megamart.”

Oh bother.

7 responses to “Oh dear me, I’m becoming British

  1. yeah, you’re now one of them alright. grumbling to yourself, meaningful exchange of looks with someone else who was in the queue, but not saying anything. 🙂 and then you blog about it (that’s american! — or universal actually). see you soon, NFAH!

  2. Ah yes, that ancient British art of “fuming”. Love it!

  3. Ooh, I can hardly bring myself to type ‘toilet paper’, let alone say it! My mother would have said “How vulgar, Anonymous, please say loo roll”. Is there a polite loo roll equivalent in American?

  4. Oh, go on, practise in front of the mirror. “Loo roll, loo roll, loo roll”.

  5. I’m entertained by the fuming in queue thing – did it give you the insight that despite the queue jumping being considered highly impolite in the UK, the fact that the students are obviously from a different culture also hits the barrier of “can’t say anything because they’re not aware of our culture of queuing” and the consideration that it would also be highly impolite to say anything – hence the quiet fuming that the average Brit does? Stuck in our own mire of what constitutes acceptable polite behaviour…

    Also, I thought of you whilst watching one of the antiques shows this week. An expert was examining a cheese scoop and explaining how in Victorian times it was considered the height of bad manners to ever let your hands come into contact with food of any type – thus explaining some of the quirks of resisting handling fast food that still persist…

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