Thursday, May 11, 2006
Has anyone ever seen that Monty Python skit about SLOW BANTER? Well, it's hilarious, and it speaks to what I think is a surprisingly accurate stereotype about small-town England -- the constant BANTERING.
Two days ago I heard the woman behind me bantering with the clerk at the Tesco as though they were ancient friends. Yesterday I was rifling moodily through sunglasses at Boots and this incredibly cute girl started bantering with me about how hard it was to choose a pair of sunglasses, and by the way, did I think that these ones made her face look too big?? I laughed, and told her I thought that every pair made me look like either a bug or an alien, so the choice was really about whether I preferred insects to extraterrestials, or the other way around. She laughed, and we bantered for a good fifteen minutes. Today at the cathedral this woman in the cafe asked to sit at my table and bantered with me for a good hour about her niece's health problems (deafness, a tracheostomy, malformed diaphragm, cerebral palsy, speech problems, sleep apnea, gastrointestinal difficulties, you name it, this woman's niece probably has it), until I had to actually exaggeratedly look at my watch and remark in an oh-so-British way: "MY, WILL YOU LOOK AT THE TIME! IT'S NEARLY HALF-FOUR!" I didn't want to be mean, but I knew she would have kept me there all day and told me her entire life story if I'd let her.
Haha. I love it, though. I love that people are friendly rather than surly, and talkative rather than closed-off and withdrawn. It also seems to be teaching me to be a better listener, which is a lesson I could stand to learn about 400 times over.
Other things I love about the UK:
1) Crumpets -- with their little porous holes that fill so delightfully with butter and jam. They're pretty much the greatest thing ever. I just discovered that honey makes them instantly delicious. Like biting into a bee hive, without the pain or swelling.
2) Scones -- cheese scones are particularly brilliant. All crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Yummy!
3) Shoes! -- I am totally in love with my new rainbow Converse high-tops. See above! That was one frivolous 33 pound purchase that I simply had to make.
4) Books -- The covers are all so beautiful, and the selection in bookstores is amazing. I found myself in a serious dilemma in Smith's today about whether to buy Zadie Smith's White Teeth or Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex. Both looked fantastic, both were exactly the same price, and both were almost the same length. An impossible decision, but I finally went for White Teeth -- I'll read Middlesex later. The Virgin Suicides, which Eugenides also wrote, pretty much flung me into a two-month depression, so I think I'll hold off on the novels of identity crisis for a bit longer.
5) Shopping -- I found a tank top I loved in Rotterdam here in Exeter in the right size (which oddly enough was XS....a size I pretty much think was invented out of sheer cruelty), and the right colour....or I should say the right two colours. I bought it in turquoise AND purple. God, I must stop spending money.
6) Amazing pondside sunsets -- I'm missing one right now, in fact. Yikes!
Better get going.
Oh, and here's a gratuitous link to Jag's blog, since she wanted one (NOT THAT SHE NEEDS IT SINCE THE ENTIRE WORLD GOES TO HER BLOG AND US SMALL PEOPLE CAN ONLY BASK IN HER GOLDEN LIGHT!!)
Haha. I love you Jag, golden light and all.