I love Brits. They're just like Americans, except they're not at all like Americans. They fool you because they speak a similar language. Notice I said similar, not the same. The language isn't the same. Winston Churchill once described us as two people separated by a common language, and oh, how right he was.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that the Lovely Louise is British. She may have lived here for the past twenty years, but she talks British. She thinks British, and she acts British. She even put British flag stickers on all of our cars and has declared our home to be British territory. I wonder if that means I still have to pay British taxes? Maybe I'll ask the Lovely Louise to defend me when they send Scotland Yard. Recently she became an American citizen—although I can't for the life of me figure out why, and there are times when I'm tempted to turn her in for her pro-British comments and attitudes. Every year, she must return to England to get her “English fix” like some sort of nationalistic drug addict. Sometimes I even go with her.
As soon as we arrive at Heathrow she begins talking faster, and her accent thickens to the point where the most-used word coming out of my mouth is “what?” Except she pronounces it whot. I really do have trouble understanding her, although everyone there seems to understand her with no problem. Maybe it's me.
English homes are very different as well. They're small. I mean very small. I think the reason Brits travel so much is just to get out of their tiny houses. The houses are different too. Take their bathrooms: Their toilets don't flush like ours, their showers have controls that I can't figure out, and you can often sit on the toilet, take a shower and wash your hands in the sink all at the same time. They don't seem to notice this at all.
There's the weather too, but that's a subject for another blog.
I enjoy a cocktail in the evening. That would make me very British, except that I like a lot of ice in my drink. I defy you to go into a Brit's home and find any ice in the freezer. It's not there unless they know there's an American coming, in which case they dig out the one ice cube tray that they have in the cupboard—you know, the one that makes the teeny, tiny ice cubes—fill it with water and put it in the freezer. When it's time to make a real drink, it takes all the ice they have just for one drink. If I want a second one, I have to drink the first one really fast so there's still a little ice left for the next one. (Okay, maybe I don't have such a problem with that.)
One year I brought over a bottle of Jack Daniels. When a couple of blokes in the kitchen asked what it was, I informed them that it was a bottle of Tennessee sipping whiskey and not bourbon, but it was still pretty good. They asked if they could try it. “Of course,” I said. “But if you're going to drink it, you have to drink it like an American.” Jolly good! I told them all to fill their glasses with ice. “What for?” Because we're going to drink like Americans. I poured Jack into their ice-filled glasses and told them to shake it around for a minute or two and then take a sip. The reaction? “Oh, I say, that's bloody marvelous!” They finished the bottle even though we ran out of ice.
Prior to our first trip to England together, I told Louise about the time I’d spent living in London years ago, and the somewhat low quality of British food. She assured me that things had changed, and promised she would show me how much better British food is today. After arriving in Bournemouth, our first meal was at an Algerian restaurant. In short order we ate Indian curry, Chinese, Italian, and Thai, and went to some other restaurants that served food from everywhere but England. Okay, I get it. Britain has now stolen food from around the world and is calling it “British.” Nice move when all you've got to offer is Yorkshire pudding, bangers and mash, and fish and chips.
Don't be deceived by them, though. The accent will get you every time. There's something about an English accent that puts Americans into a coma. “Oh, you speak so beautifully! Please keep talking to me and don't worry, just say anything.” I've heard Brits say the most horrible things to Americans and the American just grins and says, “I love your accent!” The Lovely Louise can use her accent as a weapon. She can insult you in the most polite and lovely way. You think she may have said something bad, but you’re still basking in the glow of that accent and what she actually said hasn't really hit you yet.
I don't know why, but that accent makes them sound so much smarter than we are. That's the funny thing about accents. I know some Southern guys who are the smartest people I know, but when they talk to you in that good-old-boy accent, you think you're talking to a tree stump. That's what I want to hear, a Brit talking to a Cajun from the bayou. I'd pay good money to hear that, and I could eat crawfish and jambalaya at the same time.
By the way, that accent also makes them excellent bad guys in the movies.