So I'm off to the UK this weekend and I need to start practising being "English" again. It's not that I've gone particularly native living over here, but there are some things I am always politely reminded I need to rein in when I cross the Pond.
Things like - talking to complete strangers. OK, growing up in the North East of England, this was quite the norm. You couldn't stand at a bus stop for more than two minutes before knowing the abridged life story of the little biddy standing next to you. Moving south, I soon found out that not everyone in the UK does that.
Here in the mid-west of the USA however, it's open season; anyone and everyone talks to you and you do likewise. I was recently reminded how un-British that is at Legoland in California. Walking up to one of the rides, I heard two British kids in front of me complaining that it was at least a 30 minute wait. Given that I could hardly see anyone in the line/queue, I simply said "Oh it can't be that long. I'm sure it's about 15 minutes at most." I had my own son by my side so the the "stranger danger" alarm bells couldn't possibly have been going off, but to my amusement, they went scurrying off to their mother, who herself (even though she heard my accent) gave me strange looks throughout our wait for the ride. Hmmm.
And then there's the customer service impatience, of which I whole-heartedly admit I'm guilty. I'm not saying that US customer service is all that, but it's fast. Sometime I feel like I could die waiting in England. Last year's example was going into a restaurant in the MetroCentre just outside of Newcastle. We were shown to a table - and then left for fifteen minutes. No menu, no order taken for a drink. Nothing. In the end I had to get up and go in search of someone to serve us, and even my mother admitted that I was 'well within my rights'.
And finally - ease up on the car horn. Such is the driving in the States that I am frequently compelled to admonish people with a quick beep of the horn. Sometimes, when someone has really overstepped the mark, I'll leave my hand on the horn for a few seconds. Apparently this might even be against the law in England, so I'll have to duct tape my hands to the steering wheel while driving.
Is there anything I've missed?