Thursday, May 7, 2009

Turnabout is fair play

Okay, for all the jokes I have made about some of the sights in England, I post this one specifically FOR my friends in England. This is an actual place about five minutes from my house in Oregon. Seriously.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Say what?

There's this popular show on BBC3 Called Gavin and Stacey ( that I loved to watch...and if you have access to any BBC shows, you should check it out as well. (I'm always bossing you around about what to watch, aren't I?)

I was watching one episode where the entire extended family was sleeping over at a family member's house, so there were odd pairings of the characters in strange places...and admittedly, I was not familiar with the entire cast and storylines quite yet. In fact, this was at Christmastime, so I was pretty much unfamiliar with everything about England at that point. (As opposed to my keen insight and understanding of the country now. Yeah, right.)

The scene went like this: It was the middle of the night and a sleepy looking guy stumbles into the kitchen and pours himself a glass of milk. Another similar-looking guy comes into the kitchen and startles the first guy, and then apologizes. Then the first guys says that he was laying there in the dark, trying to get off, but just couldn't seem to do it. The second guy says something like, "Yeah, I couldn't get off either. I thought a glass of milk might help."

Here's an approximation of how I looked at that moment:

Was I watching a porn with an actual plot? Is masturbation during primetime an okay thing to have on TV in England? If this is what's on during the supposed "family" hours, then what will I see after 10:00? Well, let me answer those questions for you: 'no,' 'no,' and 'depends on the channel.'

As it turns out, 'get off' means go to sleep, not the thing you might do before you go to sleep. I've never quite been able to incorporate that into my vocabulary, though.

My days are frequently peppered with these sorts of vernacular stumbling blocks. Here's another example. Son 2's teacher was telling me how well Son 2 was doing during his first week of school. He told me about Son 2s great sense of humor, his off-the-charts scores in reading and math, and his ability to really get on with the girls....that he sure has his way with the girls.

I was stunned. Shocked. Embarrassed, and not sure what to say. Son 2 is six....where did he learn inappropriate stuff like this? By no means do I pretend that my kids are angels, but Husband and I are good about monitoring their TV watching, there's no unsupervised internet, and we don't have a secret stash of nasty books or movies. Then it occurs to me that all the other parents (or at least the ones with girls) will totally know who I am - the new Mom on campus, and I still have to exit the building, going through the playground where all the other parents are. They are going to stare at me even more than normal now, the mom of the kid who 'gets on' with girls. Oy.

I took a deep breath and pushed aside the image in my mind of Son 2 in his classroom, wearing his bathrobe, leaning against a desk in Hefner-esque style, chatting it up with a group of little girls. In a quivering voice, I manage to say to his teacher (who is male,) "Um, well, please make sure you remind him to be appropriate, and Husband and I will talk to him tonight...I'm sorry, and I don't know what to say."

The teacher stares at me, obviously replaying the conversation in his mind, scared that I'm going to cry, and not sure how things went so wrong in the past 20 seconds. And, just like on TV when the light goes on above the character's head, the teacher has a "ah ha!" moment. He leans forward, smiling, patting my hand to reassure me, and says, "Mrs. American, Son 2 is being completely appropriate. What I meant to say is that he is a good friend to the girls, unlike some boys his age who are mean to the girls. What I meant was that the girls like him, and he likes the girls. Respectfully."

Can you hear my enormous sigh? Can you see the glow from my bright-red face? Add 'the boys' primary school' to the list called Places This Writer Makes an Ass of Herself.

Here's another example of one of my stumbling blocks...or shall I say stumbling hump? I was attempting to get directions to the main library from a woman at the barber shop. Mistake number one...she had an accent thicker than pudding (real pudding, that is) and spoke incredibly fast. As she went on about the way I had to go, it became obvious that she was going to describe the route, as opposed to giving me the names of the roads. Among her descriptions of so-and-so's house with the wayward daughter and some yahoo with a blue garage who kept too many cats, was her warning that I'd also "see a lot of humps"....that, in her words, I should, "Mind the humps on those back streets."

The only thing I'd like to see less than two locals humping is backstreet locals humping. Or locals humping me, I suppose, although that would be difficult to I digress. Needless to say, I skipped the walk to the main library that day. It wasn't until later in the week as we drove to the library that I realized what she meant about the humps.

So, yeah, humps in the road are speed bumps. Don't get the giggles or anything when you see a sign like this. And don't be such as ass and think it means anything inappropriate.