A British Person Did That

Recently, I wrote a post about questions I get asked about living in England.  Beautiful, ridiculous, gloriously uninformed questions.  I’ve had a number of people say to me that I should write a mirror post about questions that British people ask me about America.  But honestly people, E4 single-handedly Americanised this country by airing every season of Friends on a continuous loop for a million years (::clutches chest::)  And may that haggard old lady we know as E4 Friends rest in sweet peace.

Predictably, this means that the questions that I get from my redcoat compadres aren’t really that interesting.  They instead regularly end with “…..and is that like Friends?”

But…and there is a wonderful but….there is something I have found that I love about these Brits.  Something that has amused and baffled me time and time again.  Wartime propaganda popularised the phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  Adopting this mentality (or holding firm to that mentality which already may have existed) has helped the Brits face and overcome trying times in their history.  I fear, however, that they sometimes take this mentality too far and I can find myself standing, gaping, wild-eyed at something that has just happened. The American in me will jump, point, scream and wave my arms wildly at what has just gone down.  The British person will stare blankly forward and walk right passed and pretend it never happened.  Keep Calm and Carry On, Brotha.  It’s either that or someone has laced the tea with sedatives.

Photo via: apieceofmonologue.com

And, at all costs, ignore any potential awkwardness

So, here it is.  A British Person Did That:

It was a weekday morning and my American colleages and I had just stumbled off of the double decker that had dropped us at the top of the high street in Liverpool.  We were on our way to Starbucks for a late breakfast meeting.  For those who haven’t really seen a city centre before,  Liverpool’s city centre, at any one time, has thousands of people occupying it’s quarters.  It’s where people come to shop, dine, waste time, site-see — you name it.  There is a road that comes out of the top of the high street just before the bombed out cathedral, a landmark.  This road usually isn’t a road that has vehicle access, but occassionally, you’ll see a car drive on it.  Clearly, the pedestrian we lazily spotted as we were chatting in our loud American voices was also aware that cars don’t usually drive out of this road because she wasn’t really looking when, and I kid you not, she stepped right in front of a moving car.  The car struck her.  We all stopped.  One of my male colleagues leapt in the air and said, “WHOA!  Did you see that?!”  And we did because she had rolled up onto the hood/bonnet, rolled back off again and landed on the pavement.  We all stopped and stared briefly wondering if we should run to her, call an ambulance, offer assistance – and so we waited, while we held our breath to see if she would move.  For a few seconds, she sat still on all fours.  We saw the driver start to move to get out of his car.  Then, she got up, and not taking a moment even to look in the direction of the driver, she dusted herself off and WALKED AWAY! And then, the driver drove away.  SHE ROLLED ON THE HOOD, PEOPLE!

A British person did that.  


9 thoughts on “A British Person Did That

  1. scribblefingers

    Of course she walked away – if she wasn’t hurt then it would have been incredibly embarrassing! It’s like when people slip on ice and just get up and keep going – while everyone else pretends that they haven’t seen anything. If she was hurt, it would have been another matter (just in case you think I’m heartless!). This is the first time I’ve commented, but I love your blog, and Christy said I should name myself as Larry and Eea’s daughter!

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Thanks for posting! Glad you enjoy the blog. I see your point about the embarrassment but she flew up on the hood and off onto the pavement. Even if not serious, that can’t have felt nice! I think for Brits awkwardness > mild to moderate injury.

  2. John from the Dolls House shop

    I agree with scribble fingers, if not hurt, why cause a fuss, it was her fault after all. But I suspect that E4, Disney and Starbucks make us more american every day, and an unhealthy proportion of Brits these days would be straight on to the no-win no-fee solicitors helpline.

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Hi John, love the dolls houses. Do you personally make them?

      Haha. I love your comment because it is British. Even if I knew it was her fault and that she might sue me, I’d still be out of my car like a shot to triple check that she was okay. (Probably for my own nerves more than anything). It’s the idea of someone being hit by a car, rolling onto the bonnet, being tossed onto the pavement and almost refusing to acknowledge it that is so very British. I love it. As I said to scribble fingers, avoiding potential awkwardness or fuss will always win here!

  3. vegemitevix

    Love it! What a funny adroit blog you have here. I’ve so many many examples of that. Even in NZ where we are tough as, we would still make the person notice we were not happy! There’s a wonderful book out by a social anthropologist called ‘Watching the English’ I reckon it should be given out at border control. It tries (hard) to explain why the Brits are happy to get by with bad service and things not bloody working! It even explained to me why I was getting funny looks when I introduced myself at a party (apparently the English don’t do that you’re supposed to guess their name?) and why I was frowned at when I struck up a conversation with commuters on the train. Mind you my Englishman reckons they’re friendlier in the north, though I have my doubts. What do you think? Will people say hi if you say hi to them?

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Ooooh, I’ve never heard the introducing yourself thing. Intriguing! You have brought to light a whole new level of repeated social failure. I’ve lived both in the North and South (South currently) and do think Northerners, on the whole, tend to be warmer. But because I’m in the Southwest, I think warmness is better here than in Ol’ London Town.

  4. Pingback: A British Person Did That – Volume 2 « Living Life as an Expat Parent

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