Tuesday, October 28, 2008

British abroad conversation guide

Happy people from the continent, my brothers and soulmates, you immaculate folks from all around Europe, be it the plains of Spain, the fields of Italy, the mountains of Albania or the forests of Germany, you may - or may not - have crossed the path of this rare and peculiar insular animal that we call a Briton.
If you ever cross one of them tourists strolling across your lands, don't rush and call the police or write to your deputy. Keep your head cool. Remember this post. This is a foretaste of what you must expect from this unlikely encounter.

Briton is a shy animal. He's reluctant to leave his natural biotope (see picture above) and rarely learns the language of other species. So if he comes straight at you and asks "Do you speak English?", please take no offence. Just say "Yes", as anyone of you has learned at school, and he will show signs of relief. Actually he didn't expect any other answer.

Then he will ask you where he can find a cash-machine. In order to survive, reptilians need scales, Britons need money. And beer. Simply show him the way to the nearest ATM and try to spot whether there is a pub around. If so, sit in and wait for him to show up. It won't take long till he does and as soon as he recognizes you, the Briton - being very generous by nature - will offer you a drink. And then another. And then another. And then another. And then he will leave.

If he sits at your table in France or Italy, he will try to say cunning things about food, wine and decoration. That's some his favorite subjects. So be prepared to hear one of these familiar lines: "this cheese is excellent"; "I really like French wine but some Chilian wines are even better"; "your house is AMAZING, there is so much space for the children"; "it's always been my dream to own a place in southern Europe"; "Nick and I actually thought about buying a whole village but the one we visited needs complete refurbishing"
If he comes to Germany, you won't avoid this one: "German cars are terrific. I think the best would actually be to have an english bodywork coupled with a german engine."

Then will come the time to share mutual cultural experiences.
Languages: "I learned Spanish, French, German and Ukrainian at school, I even did some latin. But I totally forgot it. It's a pity, isn't it?"
Travels: "My mother took me to Netherlands once when I was small. It was so flat. I didn't like it" (Bonus track: "Shirley went to Dubaï. She got pissed and had sex on the beach with a married waiter. That was before she knew me of course. And yes, cheers, I'll sure have another glass of wine")
Perspectives: "I really think we should enjoy life. Work less hours. Have more time to party."
Regrets: "I shouldn't have married Michael. I should have gone to Africa and looked after people who really need my help."

So, as you see, my humble friends, there is no need to panick. And since I have to be honest, not all of them are like this.

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1 comment:

Xavier said...

And if a Briton watches a rugby match with a French guy, he will say "Good Game" after the victory of his team... I hate that...