Sunday, December 16, 2007

Perspective

I haven't been near the computer in days and now I'm terrified to even look at bloglines for fear I have 600 new posts to check. Sheesh. My Mum and Dad arrived on Wednesday and since then I've been in Hallmark Channel heaven watching Anna play with 'Ganny' and 'Ganddad' while I bask in the knowledge of all that babysitting to come.

I'm so full of the joys that I'm prepared to do something completely out of character. Put that wineglass down? Surely you jest? No, inspired by Little Britain, I'm going to list the things about my life in America that I love. Here I am, secure with all my peeps in town, able to take a step back and be broadminded *gasp*.

So here in no particular order and with very little sarcasm is a little list of what I love about life over here:

1. Going out for breakfast. Growing up in the UK this sounded as absurd a concept as going out to clean your teeth, but it's something I've grown to love. If someone had told me 15 years ago that I would spend every Sunday going for a half mile ocean swim followed by breakfast at a restaurant on the beach the anti-America chip on my shoulder would have fallen off in shock. I still won't put syrup on anything, but guilt-free Eggs Benedict after an icy swim? Now that's a lifestyle.

2. Having an English accent over here generally makes life so chuffing easy. This is a country that loves all things English (albeit a hashed together Disney-fied version of England). Moving from a continent that universally villifies anything British this change is shockingly refreshing. It's an automatic opener at cocktail parties, and only causes a few problems when talking on the phone. Generally, a good thing.

3. Food glorious food. It's very hard to stay skinny in this country there is such abundance and variety. Some of the things I would miss if we ever moved back to Blighty are; ranch dressing, jalapeno Cheetos, Mexican food, Philly Cheesesteak, Hass avocados, decent cocktails and anything from Trader Joes. Oh and free refills. As I said, hard to stay skinny.

4. Sunshine on tap. OK this is obviously a California thing, and probably not going to win me a lot of friends while the rest of the world shivers through yet another ice storm, but the advantages of a climate that never, ever varies are manifold. The thing I will never get used to is being able to schedule an outdoor activity three weeks in advance knowing full well that the weather won't ruin it. Want to play tennis a week next Thursday? Want to have everyone over for a barbecue Tuesday week? No problem. That is a luxury that I won't ever tire of. Putting sunscreen on every time you leave the house is a small price to pay.

5. Bum-protectors. What? I think the official term is 'toilet-seat covers'. Those filmy pieces of waxy paper that are supposed to prevent other people's arse-germs tainting your saintly derriere. I'm sure they're about as effective as a chocolate teapot but the faux-reassurance level is high. I was very surprised at how much I missed them on my last trip home.

6. US Mail. I realise many of you have just sprayed coffee all over your computer screens, but yes, the US Mail rocks, for the reason that you can have them pick up your stuff if you just put up that little flag jobbie on your post-box. No trawling around town trying to find a postbox over here! Try asking the postman to pick up your post in England. Didn't think so, he'd have a hard time trying to get his hand through that letterbox for a start.

7. Have a nice day. Not necessarily true in Brooklyn or downtown LA, but for the most part Americans are absurdly polite and well, nice. We Brits tend to be rather cynical so if a shop assistant welcomes you in to a store and starts offering to 'start a room for you' it's a knee-jerk reaction to think they've just identified you as a shoplifter and are subliminally telling you to watch yourself mate, I've got my eye on you. Customer service here is rampant and not deemed beneath your dignity.

8. Driving. It is so much easier to drive over here. Firstly cars are mostly automatics, which make driving with that latte less of a first-degree burn hazard, secondly most roads were built after cars were invented so they are spacious and being forced to overtake is almost unknown (you haven't truly learned to drive in the UK unless you've had to overtake a tractor on a narrow, blind corner with 17 angry motorists in tow). Plus, the weather in CA makes driving a dream. It rains 2 or 3 times a year, other than that conditions are always perfect, no snow, driving rain, freezing fog, black ice, nothing.

9 People. I've met some pretty kick-ass people out here who I would miss terribly. Smart, funny, warm-hearted, genuine people. Friends who smile politely whenever I say 'shedule' instead of 'skedule' and who feign interest in England's inevitable defeat on penalties. And they all drink and serve great wine, hell, some of them even own wineries. What's not to love?

I know for completeness' sake there should be 10 things but don't push me OK? This was painful enough as it was.

8 comments:

Mary said...

Going out for breakfast is the BEST!! It is one of my most favorite things to do!
Nice list :)

Little Britainer said...

Good stuff--I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy about life here now! And you're spot on about the post. Even in NY, where the postie won't pick up your letters as no one really has their own letterbox, the U.S. mail outdoes Royal Mail all the time. I still can't get over how cheap it is. And the people who work behind the counter don't seem to bear any resentment toward the customers. Really odd, but nice.

Sugarplum's Mom said...

LOL about the toilet seat covers. You're right that they don't do anything. Toilets are cold harsh environments for little bacteria to thrive.. but because of what goes into the toilet, people freak. Penn & Teller did a great episode of their show "Bullshit" about it.

Sugarplum's Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Oh, The Joys said...

This is a lovely post!

(And from your land I miss, milk chocolate hob nobs, taramasalata, a decent pint and the addictive horror that is Neighbors.)

Norm said...

Hahahaha, #2 cracked me up. I have to confess now that when I hear a woman with a British accent at Trader Joes I think to myself, "... I wonder if that's Mrs. Kennedy's friend?" ;)

And #6 left me gobsmacked.

Rachel said...

There are all the things I miss. And having an American accent in the UK only gets people to roll their eyes. No fair! But I have to say I'm in awe of the Royal Mail...mail comes so fast here!

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