Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Little Differences

Some little differences about London that I have noticed recently. . . They really like the sparkling water. There has been a bit of a revolt here in the office actually because they used to have free sparkling water before the move to the new offices in Soho and they are very upset that it has been taken away. In a restaurant you typically need to say still water if you just want regular flat water. Bottles of water that you buy will say still as well. In America it assumed that the water is still unless it says sparkling. Another little thing is their version of office speak. It has always amused me in America how in the morning everyone, myself included does the, “Hey, how is it going? Good? Yeah, I’m good.” thing each morning around the coffee maker. No one really listens and no one really cares. If you burst into tears and shrieked, “My life is crap! I am a shell of my former self! All I do is dream of quitting this hell hole, taking my stapler and going off to a tropical island and drinking cocktails made of pureed fruit with little umbrellas!” Well. No one would quite know how to respond, but it would provide weeks of pleasurable IM gossip. (I have often thought how great it would be to absolutely gonzo nuts on the job. Not go in the bathroom for my Holly Hunter Broadcast News cry but really, really lose it- not go postal lose it, but you know what I mean. . . And then see what people do) In London their version of “How is it going?” is “You alright?” This threw me at first. In America you don’t ask if someone is alright unless it looks like they are NOT alright. Another odd little business phrase is when you call someone and the secretary is about to transfer you, they will say, “Bear with me.” At first I thought. . . bear with me? What the hell?? But they did the transfer and the next time it happened I realized that it was their version of me saying, “May I put you on hold while I transfer you?” The way they say good bye and the end of a call cracks me up. There is a lilt to the “Okay! Bye-bye!” that is hard to explain. Women do it more than men do, but sometimes they do is well. It’s quick and kind of dismissive. There is no way you can interrupt someone in the middle of a “Okay, bye-bye!” I feel like a cultural anthropologist. Is that a job? Stuart said if I lose my American accent he is shipping me back to the states.


At 5/18/2005 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is from Nicole's Mom:
From the moment I heard about Stuart he sounded like a keeper. Must say I would have enjoyed being a fly on the wall when the word was out.
Are we going to party ? or what???
For those of you whom I haven't met yet looking foward to it and to those of you who I have looking forward to seeing you again.


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