I had a funny phone call from an old high school friend the other day. Some of you may remember me talking about our visit from Keith a few months back. Looks like things are going well with him and his woman in Northern Ireland, so if all goes well, he might actually join the ranks of expat in the not to distant future.
The phone call was funny in that he mentioned how tough it could be learning to live with someone else. He's been a bachelor for a long time and after spending three weeks living with his gal at her house, he was having some trouble adjusting to sharing his toys. Curiosity got the better of me, so I asked what exactly was bugging him with co-habitation.
"Well, she gets mad at me when I put the dishes in the sink. And then she gets really upset when I go and get a drink and I forget to ask her if she wants one."
"Keith," I laughed, "these are issues that go beyond just a man and a woman sharing a house. You've now stumbled into the 'we-speak-the-same-language-but-I-still-don't-understand-a-word-you-are-saying' aspect of the Anglo-American relationship. Good luck sorting that all out!"
And with these concerns, Keith's been officially welcomed into the support group.
A support group, you may ask?
Yes. Yes. Emphatically yes.
For a while, I used to think it was Hubster who was just a little too sure of himself on linguistic questions or maybe it was just his nature to be a little bit of an ass about these things, so I'd let it slide. What finally dawned on me after talking with others in similar relationships is that it isn't that Hubster's an ass. It's just that he's British.
A few examples for you....
*Last night, the kids were learning how to play badminton at a friend's house. One of the other guests present asked us what we called the little white flying thing in English. I responded, "birdie." Hubster looked at me like I was nuts.
"It's a shuttlecock," he said.
Cue huge discussion on the origins of badminton and the fact that the French word for the little white flying thingy is even worse than shuttlecock.
*Cooking dinner one night, I realized I didn't have hamburger buns but I threw some meat onto the grill anyway. I ask Hubster if he'd like a cheeseburger to which he replies that we aren't having cheeseburgers.
"Ok, so cheese on your burger then?"
"If you're asking if I'd like cheese on the pattie, that would be nice."
Shoot me now.
*I tell Hubster to get the toilet paper out of the downstairs bathroom. He responds that we have no bathroom downstairs. He says that we have a toilet.
Ok, so that's technically true, but where I grew up, we called that a bathroom or a half-bath all the same. It may not make sense, but there it is anyway. AND HE KNEW WHAT ROOM I WAS TALKING ABOUT! Humor me here, honey!
*The sink/dishes fight. This is a major one for us. For me, the sink is the place to put your dirty dishes until the dishwasher is free. For Hubster, if you put the dirty dishes in the sink, how can you use the sink? Stack them on the counter above the dishwasher and leave the sink free. But, I argue, YOU CAN SEE THE DIRTY DISHES ON THE COUNTER. In the sink, THEY ARE HIDDEN! And so on and so on and so on....
Speaking pigeon French is a cake walk compared to the stress of having to deal with English on a daily basis!
Truth be told, I'm starting to twitch as I try to remember other examples of this. I might have to succumb to my darkest fears and go and make myself a cup of tea.
Note: All extra "u's" have been deleted from this post in protest. Love you, Houney.