Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Perhaps a little too British for my liking...

After almost half a year abroad, I think it is now safe for me to admit that some progress has been made towards my integration! I have discovered that where I am, there is absolutely no sense of embarrassment, politeness, or personal space. Actually, scratch that - it isn't progress at all. But it is an important realisation, since it was my awareness of this that made me realise just how British I am.

This shocking discovery was made around three days ago. There I was, talking to a group of friends on the pavement, when out of nowhere a bloke walked straight into my side. After recovering from the trauma of a stranger entering into my life (a major shock for any Brit), I felt my mouth begin to move, and I heard myself saying it. I tried to catch it on the way out, but I was too late. There, in my thick British accent, I turned round and said, "Sorry".

What?! Sorry?! Could I possibly have been any more British?! I might as well have been wearing coat tails, a top hat, and been draped in a Union Jack and said, "Oh sorry old chap, I seem to have been somewhat of an inconvenience by standing here. I should have known that you were planning to pass through the small area that I occupied. If you would allow me to extract myself from under your body, I will remove myself from your presence and allow you to continue with your life." It puzzles me how I am supposed to blend in when my subconsious is wired to produce such ridiculous reactions.

In hindsight, I suppose what I should have said would have been more along the lines of, "You moron! Do you not look where you are going?! How hard is it to tell if somebody is in front of you or not? Or maybe I have suddenly gained the power of invisibility! Is it time for me to start wearing my underwear over my clothes and prance round in tights until a film is made about me? No? Well, I suggest that next time you are walking around you spend less time checking out passers-by on the street and occasionally look in front of yourself!" Ok, fine. That might have been a bit harsh. After all, I don't want to integrate too much. But I think that we can agree that in this case, "Sorry" can be roughly translated as, "I am ever so sorry for your general lack of intelligence and for how you must have been dropped on your head as a baby".

As long as I continue to have these reactions, I think you'll agree that I face a mahoosive task to blend in. What's more is that these moments are not just limited to the word "sorry". An absurd amount of unnecessary politeness is engrained in almost every inch of my being. And it shows. Being alone and abroad, friends and family often invite me round for a meal, and that's lovely! You cannot beat the company or the cooking of a home environment! But inevitably, at some point throughout the meal, the test will come: seconds. This is not, as one might think, a test of my self control in an attempt to diet, oh no. It is a lot more complicated than that. Often, what I want to say is, "Why thank you, it's all delicious!", but before I have had time to assess the situation, the words, "No thank you" have already left my lips. Why am I saying that?! But more importantly, how on earth do I stop?! It's not as if I can turn round a few seconds later and go, "Erm... I might have lied before. I would actually love a little more of everything please!" Come to think of it, if I ever was to diet, this problem (especially considering my overactive appetite) could prove extremely useful.

Seeing as I have little desire to starve myself silly for no other purpose than to fit into a slightly smaller pair of jeans, this aspect to my character can quite frankly bugger off as far as I'm concerned. I'd much rather not have to apologise for other people's mistakes and be able to say what I want than be left with the constant frustration of rueing what my inner British self decides for me. Until then, I guess I will just have to keep calm, carry on, and not have seconds.


JAWS said...

Reading this reminds me of a British fellow with whom I had the opportunity to work with for awhile. We were always bashing one another for the way we spoke. I being raised in the southern U.S have a pretty thick accent,along with he who was raised in Great Britain we made quite a pair. We would ask each other to say something all the time just to laugh at our own expense. It became quite amusing most of the time.
He would babble on about how we offer no proper English pubs, and I would babble on about his drinking of nasty beer. Ah good times.
Thank you for an amusing read.

Alon Nachshen said...

Sound brilliant! Glad you enjoyed it!

Turbine Surgeon said...

Isn't that the truth. I love watching British shows on Netflix not only to enjoy the shows but to hear the different speech patterns, sayings, and the different accents.

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