Friday, 29 May 2009

Things that are different about America

Whenever people ask me about my time living in the states, I always tell them that I was shocked at how different things were over there. Yet, when asked for concrete examples, nothing ever comes to mind beyond "they call petrol 'gas' ". I must have anticipated this problem when I first returned home and actually wrote a list of things that had surprised me, and today I found the list... here are some funny ways in which the US is different from the UK....

1. Cheques = "Checks"

2. People pack your groceries for you and ask whether you'd like "paper or plastic"?

3. It seems that you can drive in any lane on the "highway" you feel like and undertaking is positively encouraged

4. "Straight" means good, but "gay" does not mean bad

5. Things that are "the shits" are good

6. Things that "suck dick" are bad (this one I do not understand)

7. Car insurance only covers you up to a set maximum - don't hit a porshe

8. They pronounce route as "rowt"

9. Crisps are chips and chips are fries

10. Cookies = biscuits and Biscuits = some weird scone-like things

11. You can buy gallon tubs of weight watchers ice cream

12. Americans think that all English people are from London, or near London

13. Keg parties aren't just in the movies

14. It's impossible to order a normal sandwich, you have to choose what size? what bread? what salad? pickles? chillis? fat free dressing? ranch or italian? black olives? what cheese? etc

15. Cici's pizza - all you can eat for $3.99 (that's  less than £3 ALL you can eat)

16. There is no £ sign on american keyboards, despite the $ being readily available on all british keyboards

17. The @ symbol is on the 2 key

18. Lots of people actually think mullet haircuts are cool. No, really

19. Thanksgiving is about food, Christmas is about presents

20. 100 channels is the smallest cable package (though it's getting this way in the UK now too. Good ol' freeview)

21.  Rims = wheels, whip = car, ice = jewellery and mummies = girlfriends

22. Popeyes - chicken and "biscuits" (see 10 above)

23. Taco Bell - fast mexican

24. Arbys - grease burgers

25. Checkers - fat burgers

26. Dairy Queen - drive-thru ice cream (hell yes)

27. Wendys - square burgers (WTF?!)

28. You have to pay to have a current account

29. Condoms are "rubbers" not "johnnies"

30. Don't ask for a "rubber" when you want an "eraser"

31. People don't say Hello, they say "Hellohowareyou" - this doesn't mean they want to know how you are

32. Milk has a use-by date of 3 weeks after you buy it, rather than the usual 5 days - I'm not sure if they're doing something weird to theirs or whether we're doing something weird to ours...

33. You can't buy small quantities of shampoo

34. You can't buy small bottles of milk (smallest = 4 pints!! but see point 32)

35. Drinks are measured in ounces - a pint is 16oz, a "beer" is 12oz

36. All lighting is from lamps not central room lighting (this was a real shocker, I didn't see a room light the whole time I was in Florida)

37. Grape juice tastes like it's made from an entirely different fruit

38. Banks send you back your cheques (checks) after the person has paid them in (and you can order cheques printed with any pattern/picture you choose)

39. Credit cards have your photo on them (this is actually an awesome idea)

40. You have to tip for drinks (actually this is true in London sometimes)

41. Eating out is cheap, especially at lunchtime

42. Traffic lights instead of roundabouts

43. Libraries have a drive-thru drop-off (well, Sarasota library did)

44. Pancakes are fat not thin

45. Oatmeal cookies are not health food (and taste awesome!)

46. "smores" - toasted marshmallows

47. You can buy guns in Walmart

48. You never have to pay for parking (except at Busch gardens where you pay an extra $7 on top of the $50 entrance fee)

49. Knickers are called panties

50. Trousers are called pants

51. No one owns a kettle but everyone owns a coffee machine

52. They have acetaminophen instead of paracetamol (it took me a long time to work that one out)

53. Nearly all chocolate bars contain peanut butter

54. Things labelled as Cadburys are really still Hersheys (and SUCK)

55. You don't have to return your "shopping cart" (trolley) to the shop, you just leave it wherever you want in the car park

56. Provalone cheese (I still dont really know what this is)

57. Chedder is the colour of red leicester

58. You can sometimes find British food (baked beans, salad creme, ribena, stock cubes) in the ethnic isle of the supermarket

59. You can turn right at red lights (yes, in cars, not just on bikes)

60. Plugs only have 2 prongs

61. Most freezers have an automatic ice-maker

62. Cars only have to have number-plates on the back

63. Book shops always have coffee shops inside them 

64. And most enigmatic of all - hole punchers have different spacings.....WEIRD

These observations are obviously based on my time in Florida, so my apologies to any americans who feel they may have been misrepresented by their floridian brethren....

Sunday, 17 May 2009

This one is cheating....

Due to a complete lack of funny stories I overheard myself these last few days (doesn't look good for the concept of this blog already, damnit) - here's one that was published in the London Metro in an article about new yorkers. I'll probably pilch some more next time London isn't providing any of it's own funniness. This one, however, reminded me very much of a victoria line train pulling into KingsCross/Victoria/Oxford Circus (delete as personally appropriate) at rush hour.

Setting: Queens-bound R train

Conductor: "Please step in and mind the closing doors....... Sir. Move your stuff out of the doors so I can close them! Motherf***er gonna make me late........gonna make us ALLLLLL late!"

Friday, 15 May 2009

Post one

Setting: Scandinavian cafe, central london. Two american, late-twenty-something women talking over skinny lattes and gravidlax.

Woman 1: "I have lots, I mean I have looots of, like, hobbies..."

Woman 2: "Oh yeah, me too. What do you like doing"

Woman 1: "Well, err, I like err, ummm"

Woman 2: "Mainly shopping right?"

Woman 1: "Yeah, basically just shopping!"