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Friday, 1 August 2008

It wasn't anything like the movies

If you see a good idea, plagiarise it! This is my version of Julia’s expatriate reflections game. To legitimise it I have added a techno-slant (well sort of).

As a Brit in the USA (me, 1965 - 1972) you know you’re in foreign parts when:

(1) An American says “Take my car”. (At a time when a male Brit would have preferred to say “Take my wife”.)
(2) You warm yourself at an open fire – in a centrally heated apartment.
(3) Services at the outdoor barbecue aren’t concluded until there are seven unordered burgers on the grill gently charring.
(4) You find you can phone anywhere for almost nothing.
(5) You are asked to contribute to the Democrats. You reply that as an alien you are unfranchised. The voice asks, “Is that like being a Republican?”
(6) You admit you are an alien to a neighbour who worriedly says, “Oh, you can’t be as bad as that”.
(7) You report a defect in your central heating to your landlord. He turns up within the hour, repairs it and gives you your Christmas present – a bottle of Scotch.
(8) You pull up for gas. The attendant sticks the hose in your filler then checks your oil while your tank fills.
(9) You attend your first baseball game and it’s 37 deg F in the bleachers. Your friend explains the rules to you and to the approval of those on adjacent seats. In the eighth innings there’s an intentional walk. Your friend groans: “I hoped they weren’t going to do that”. Laughter all round.
(10) Bad weather grounds the airlines. Car-less you take a Greyhound from Pittburgh to Buffalo for an exhibition. Your arrival is a surprise but the surprise grows tenfold when you explain how you travelled.

The USA. It changed my life. Thanks Julia.

5 comments:

marja-leena said...

Sounds so late 60's, especially the service! But I still can't get over foreigners being called aliens, like some creatures from outer space!

Barrett Bonden said...

The sixties was when I was there and alien was a title I bore with pride. It means strange and to Pittsburghers I was strange. I dined out on my strangeness. There were people in Dormont who thought I'd come from out of space, or possibly Harrisburg. "Just say something, honey. I love to hear you talk." Who could resist that?

Lucy said...

Overall very positive, then! But I like the one about 'unfranchised, is that like being a republican?'

Zhoen said...

A different world. And I've lived in the US all my life.

Julia said...

I like the unfranchised too. And some things haven't changed - the hamburgers on the grill, the baseball, the fireplaces, and especially the way Americans love British accents!