Monday 3 July 2017

What I'm Not Looking Forward to in England #2 - Looking like an idiot

I've blogged about this many times, but only when reflecting on my summer visits to the UK. Not knowing that the 50p I handed over in Tesco had been out of circulation for a few years, avoiding the shopping trolleys because I couldn't work the pound coin deposit thingy. I could get away with it then. I was in the UK temporarily; the embarrassment of having to ask about such things in an English accent, was acute, but I could flee back to the "safety" of the States where anything I didn't understand came with the cushion of "not being from here". (I can still pull that one off after 27 years btw.)

That flee-dom (mis-spelling intended) is soon to come to a screeching halt. An unwillingness to rush out on Day Two and buy plates etc. means that we will be forced, I mean forced (not), to buy M&S micro-wavey meals for a while, which in turn means you'll hear me in the prepared meal aisle exclaiming about things that normal Brits take for granted. "Oh my goodness, look, Yorkshire puds", and "Ooooh, Cumberland sausages". You get the pic. Meanwhile, normal Brits are giving me the old side eye and thinking that perhaps there's something not quite right. 

And there's the other part of not-knowing-what-the-hell-you're-doing-in-your-country-of-origin - My fellow Brits jokingly, (not), take me to task for it. How the heck am I supposed to know the ins and outs of the London Congestion system? I go to London every summer but I certainly don't drive a car into the center/centre. 

Ditto Newcastle, my home town - last time I drove into the city center I ended up driving the wrong way up a street which was pedestrianized years ago. 1) No cars allowed (just buses). 2) Only buses going in the opposite direction. Realizing my predic, and seeing two coppers watching me, I parked, leapt out of the car, played the "I haven't lived here for decades" card, and escaped their withering derision - a lethal weapon deployed by many British bobbies that makes a fine look like preferential treatment. 

Now however, I won't have the "Not from around here" defense/defence. I could always spend a few minutes explaining why I don't know what I'm doing but really, when all they need is money from the hole-in-the-wall, they're just not that interested. They just think I've escaped from the loony bin. 


  1. Yes, I imagine there will be quite the learning curve. Look at it this way, those experiences will be great blog fodder!

  2. Better to *look* like an idiot than *be* an idiot?

    (As you might guess, I am very good at offering comfort. ;-) )

  3. As regards the London congestion system, best to just avoid that area, which is quite small (only very central London) - you wouldn't want to park there anyway as it would be extortionate! Just don't forget to pay it afterwards if you do stray through (you have until midnight that night to pay). I did that with the Dartford Bridge once...


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