Oh My Word! (Well, not anymore)

The other day I was talking to my family on Skype and I encountered a horrifying moment….I mean, more horrifying than having to speak to my family.

Am I right?  Huh?  Anyone?

Nope….not even a little bit

Ahem….moving on….

So anyway, we were chatting away and I had a moment where I nearly said ‘parking lot’ instead of ‘car park’. This was the first time my English brain didn’t automatically filter out the American version of a word. Usually I can separate all my Americanisms when I speak to friends and family back home, but this was the first time I slipped.

My heart sank.

Two years ago when I was about to move to the US, a lot of my friends mocked me, saying I would have an American accent within a year.

WRONG!

Although I did admit that I would no doubt take on American versions of words because, well, I wanted to be understood.

Use English words; get this look

This got me thinking about all the words and phrases I have actively adopted to be better understood in this land of burgers, guns, and self righteous entitlement. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of words and phrases that I’ve started using to blend in seamlessly with my surroundings.

Let’s start with the inspiration for this post:

Parking Lot – This has replaced Car Park and, frankly, I don’t care.  Both work.

Trunk, Hood and Fenders – These have replaced Boot, Bonnet and Wings respectively. To be honest, I miss the English versions of these words but if I were to use them here, most people would think I am talking about some weirdly dressed bird (aviary, not ovary)

Gas – This has replaced Petrol.  I stubbornly resisted this one for ages; plumping instead to use the word ‘fuel’ as some sort of workaround.  This was initially because Petrol is liquid and Gas is, well, gas…and that’s just stupid.  Then it occurred to me that, in the same way that Petrol is short for Petroleum, Gas is actually short for Gasoline and I’m actually stupid (short for Stupid Twat). However, ‘Gas’ is also used to describe farting which is incredibly confusing when someone announces they have gas.  That never happened with ‘Petrol’.  Not once.

Just saying.

Anyway, moving away from cars; let’s move to clothing…

Pants – This has replaced Trousers and is still as funny to me today as it was the first time I heard it being used on TV when I was a child.  I realise it’s short for ‘Pantaloons’, but that doesn’t make it any less funny, because the word ‘Pantaloons’ is simply farcical!

Pants has always been, and will always be, underwear…or English slang for ‘worthless’, ‘crap’ or just ‘a little bit wank’.

Mind you, if I say Trousers I AM understood in America, but then I’m mocked for being all hoity toity like I’m drinking tea and eating crumpets.  After all, isn’t that what all us Brits do all the time apparently? (rolls eyes)

Sneakers – This has replaced Trainers.  I hate this adjustment because not once, EVER, have I sneaked[1] anywhere in my sneakers…but I have trained in my trainers.  Still, I need to be understood, so sneakers it is.

He he he….’Pants’.  It still gets me.

Sweater – This has replaced Jumper.  To be fair, this isn’t a big deal.  Like a reverse example I gave for sneakers, I have sweated in a sweater but I’ve never jumped in a jumper…unless it has a high nylon content and I’ve touched something metal.

There are other clothing differences like ‘Suspenders’ which is the US word for the braces that hold up your ‘pants’ (snigger), whereas that word exclusively refers to ‘stockings and suspender belt’ in the UK and braces are those things used to straighten your teeth, but I haven’t adopted any of that shit because…seriously, who’s having conversations about suspenders, or braces, or pants.

He he, ‘Pants’.

Aaaaaaaanyway, here are some other words and phrases in no particular category…

Z – This has replaced Z.  Yes, I’m talking about the American way of pronouncing it as ‘Zee’ instead of ‘Zed’.  I do that now.  Deal with it.

At least now the alphabet song rhymes at the end.

Soda – This has replaced Soft Drink.  To be honest, I love this one!  If I were to say ‘soft drink’ I would be understood but I just love using the word ‘soda’.  That said, I won’t use it around my English friends as I don’t want to be accused of becoming a yank!

Limeys eh? Pff!

Elevator – This has replaced Lift…and my brain processes this one slightly different to the others.  This one I have to consciously think about because my brain still desperately wants to use the word ‘lift’.  In fact, I thanked someone for “holding the lift” for me yesterday. They smiled, but they also gave me that look.

Erm…..what?

Napkin – This has replaced Serviette.  The first time I ever visited America, my girlfriend and I went to a restaurant and I noticed my place at the table didn’t have a serviette, so I asked the waitress (sorry, ‘server’) for one. She looked puzzled for a moment and said “Yes, that’s me”. It was my turn to look at her puzzled before asking her again, “Have you got a serviette?”.

There was another pause.

“That’s me”, she repeated.

Er, what?

So I picked up my girlfriend’s serviette and held it up. “A serviette, do you have another one of these?” (shaking it passive aggressively in her face)

“Oh!”, she said, “You mean a napkin!  I thought you said ‘Have you got our server yet!'”

I’m pretty sure that sentence is grammatically incorrect, but nevertheless…now I use the word ‘napkin’.  It’s a little change that means I get to wipe my mouth when I get food everywhere.

I’m a messy eater.

Nom nom nom!

Vacation – This has replaced Holiday.  I knew this change was coming; it was inevitable. In America, the word ‘holiday’ refers to a national holiday like the 4th of July (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Thanksgiving (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Martin Luther King day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!) and Labor day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!).

If you’re going away for a trip, then you need to use the word ‘vacation’ otherwise you simply aren’t understood….no matter how much context there is!

“My wife and I are going on holiday to Hawaii”

Whaaaa…?

Cellphone or Cell – This has replaced Mobile Phone, or Mobile. Now, this one is more of an issue with phonetics rather than not being understood. You see, Americans DO use the term ‘Mobile Phone’, but they pronounce ‘Mobile’ like it rhymes with ‘Noble’, and I REFUSE to pronounce it in the stupid way they say it.

Yes, I said it’s stupid. That’s because I have friends here who argue this with me and I like to get the final say.

Ha!

So now I say Cell, or Cellphone.

Get it?

Line – This has replaced Queue. When you’re waiting for your call to be answered by a call centre (center) and “your call is important to us”, you’re in a queue. When your printer has a lot of print jobs to process, it’s in a queue. When you’re stood at the post office behind everyone else, you’re in a line.

Wait, what?

I’ve tried addressing this with my American chums and, apparently, it’s because you are literally in a line. I suppose that makes sense as you’re also in a line when you’re dancing the conga at someone’s wedding. But on that occasion you’re not waiting to be served; you’re awkwardly holding the waist of some stranger in front of you as you shuffle along, kicking out your legs and clocking a child or two in the face.

Laundry – This has replaced Washing.  Now THIS is something I can get behind. I love using the word laundry as it specifically describes the act of washing one’s clothes

He he, ‘Pants’.

It makes no sense that we call it ‘washing’ in the UK, especially when it’s done at a Laundrette (or Laundromat in the US).  A clue is in the name LAUNDRette.

Groceries or Grocery Store – This has replaced Food Shop and Supermarket respectively.  Like ‘Laundry’, I love this change in my verbiage.  I’ve always disliked the fact that when someone in the UK says, “I’m going shopping”, it’s not clear if they’re buying food or a gimp swing.

This is usually remedied by the phrase, “I’m going to do a shop” which is exclusively supermarkety.

Now, moving away from English verbiage that has been replaced with their American counterparts, and onto phrases that have I have adopted and use regularly, much to my shame.

A.F. – This is an acronym (because America LOVES acronyms!) that literally means ‘As Fuck’.  For example, “It is hot A.F. today”, or, as I’ve heard some people say but I can’t bring myself to say it yet but i’m sure I will at some point in the future, “Bomb A.F.”.

This loosely translates to “My word, that was amazing”.

Hot Minute – This means “In a long time” or, as we Brits like to say, “In donkeys’ years”. Some drop the word hot and say “Yo dawg, I haven’t seen you in a minute”, but not me.  If the minute isn’t hot, it’s not worth mentioning…apparently.

Hot Mess – it’s the same as ‘Mess’, but hotter and used to describe someone rather than somewhere.  Allow me to elaborate….

If your bedroom is untidy, it’s not a hot mess…it’s just a mess.  However, if you’re drunk with vomit down your shirt, your trousers (he he, pants) around your ankles, pissing on your shoes whilst singing abusive songs at the clergy, you’re a hot mess.  In fact, you’re the hottest of messes….and you really shouldn’t be in church right now.

All Day, ErrDay – This literally translates to “All Day, Every Day‘, but is a little more ghetto and a lot fucking lazier.  That said, ever since Carl the sausage said it in Sausage Party, I’ve been loving this phrase and I use it….

….you guessed it….

….sometimes.

[1] Or ‘snuck’ as the Americans like to say.  It’s funny how ‘leaked’ isn’t ‘luck’, ‘peaked’ isn’t ‘puck’ and ‘freaked’ isn’t ‘fruck’….but hey, who am I to judge?

Oh, wait….

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Give America a little credit

1 year, 7 months and 26 days.

That’s all it took.

Just 604 measly days until some fucking fucker attempted to use my credit card.

Back in the UK I had held a credit card for over 22 years without any fraudulent activity at all and yet it seems that every American I have met has been the victim of credit card fraud.  I wonder why it happens here so often?

Very strange.

Oh, wait, my mistake, I’m talking total bollocks…it’s not strange at all.

As much as I love this country, they’re unbelievably lackadaisical about credit card security. They’re more careless than a micro-surgeon with Parkinsons; it’s ridiculous.

When I moved to America back in 2015, they were in the process of transitioning credit cards from the strip to the chip. This was for ‘added security’, and I so expected to be asked to enter my 4 digit PIN number[1] on every transaction.

Nope.

Apparently all that changed was that you now insert your card into the card reader at the front, instead of swiping it at the side.

Ooooh!

Basically, all it did was introduce Americans to another type of motion…..or ‘exercise’ as some of them call it.

And a lot of shops and stores don’t even use the chip reader because they don’t work or aren’t set up yet!

Not only are you not expected to enter your secret and secure 4 digit PIN, but more often than not you’re not even ask for a signature or proof of identity!

Petrol stations (Gas stations) vary in the way they take credit.  Some ask for a signature, some don’t; some ask for identification, most don’t. It’s a fucking minefield and thoroughly pisses me off when i’m not asked for ID.  I could be anyone!

It gets even worse at restaurants where the server takes your card away and you don’t see it for 5 minutes until they bring it back with a wad of receipts for you to sign. This, I discovered, is plenty of time for them to make a copy and charge it to some fucking clothing company in Beverly Hills to the tune of $650!

Wankers.

Back home in Blighty, the waiter or waitress (I really don’t like the term ‘server’) brings the credit card machine to your table and you enter your PIN number directly into it. The card never leaves your sight.

Not once.

Ever.

It’s such a simple thing and saves a shit-ton of paper.  Seriously, why am I given so many pieces of paper?  I always pause when trying to figure out which one i’m supposed to sign and which one i’m supposed to take home and wallpaper the house with.

And the scariest thing of all is that no-one in America seems surprised about credit card fraud; a compromised card over here is as common as rain in England…or drunken violence.

So now I had no choice but to cut up my existing card and wait for another to be delivered. Thankfully I have another credit card I can use until some bastard decides to help fund some Nigerian prince with it.

Debit cards, on the other hand, need a PIN number to be entered.

I give up.

[1] Yes, I know that PIN stands for ‘Personal Identification Number’, so saying “PIN number” is effectively saying “Personal Identification Number number”.

A queer insult.

Sometimes the difference in culture between the UK and the USA rears its ugly, and usually amusing, head. Today was one of those times.

At work we have some internal instant messaging software which is great for employees to communicate when they:

A) Can’t call.

B) Won’t call.

C) Have the social skills of a gibbon with its scrotum in a jar of fire ants.

As my department is like a central hub for any questions or issues from our call centre, we get a lot of instant messages to help out with all kinds of weird and wonderful situations.

Here is a conversation I literally just had:

Fran: Hi, I need some help

Me: Hey Fran, it’s Daniel, your favorite Brit 😉

Fran: Hey Daniel! How’s it going?

Me: Pretty good. Busy! So what’s up?

(For security reasons, this part of the conversation is omitted as it’s work related.  Needless to say, I fixed the problem like a boss!)

Me: Done!

Fran: Great! Thanks.

Me: No problem 😉

Fran: Have a great day!

Me: You have a great day too 🙂

Fran: Poof

Now, she meant to imply that she magically and dramatically vanished from the conversation in a puff of smoke, like a genie….or Batman.

To me she ended that conversation with ‘Faggot‘.

I laughed like a drain for at least a minute, solidly.

It was one of the funniest insults I’ve received since living in America, particularly because it was unintentional and from a person who wouldn’t even say boo to a goose (with or without their nuts in a jar of fire ants).

poof

This is also the word we use for an ‘Ottoman’. England is a weird place.

 

This book is a crock of shit.

As I’ve said countless times, there are words here in America that don’t mean the same things as they do back in England.

For example, the word ‘Fanny‘ means ‘Bum‘ here in America, whereas in England it means ‘Vagina‘.

Say “Fanny Pack” in front of ANY Brit and watch them grin, ear to ear. To me, a packed fanny is something completely different, and usually the result of a good night.

And going off that, the word ‘Bum‘ in America means a homeless person, whereas in England we use the word ‘Tramp‘, which means ‘Slut‘ in the U.S.

It all gets a bit confusing,

Anyway, I saw this in a supermarket yesterday:

dumpmealsbook

Isn’t this what we all do, eventually?

Once I’d stopped laughing and shaking enough to take this photo, I wondered if maybe the word ‘Dump‘ isn’t used as an alternative to ‘Poo‘, both as a verb and a noun.

Nope.

The word ‘Dump‘ means the same in America as it does in England, so I can only assume – considering the full title – that this is a book of recipes than can be ‘dumped’ into a slow cooker (crock pot) and left to cook…with ‘5 Ingredients or Less!’

Either that, or it’s a book of recipes that make you shit yourself.

It’s a crap shoot.

Bogey or Booger? You pick.

During a conversation with colleagues at work today, the subject moved to bogies [boogers].

This is indicative of the level of maturity we share.

It strikes me as odd that of all the things in the world to have a different word attributed to it, solidified nasal discharge would never have been on my list.  Now, for a change, I’m not saying the UK word is better than the US word.  In fact, they’re both a bit strange.

The UK word. ‘bogey‘ is also another word for one stroke over par in golf, or an enemy in an aerial dogfight.  Having “a bogey on your tail” means an enemy is coming up behind you and you’re in trouble…or a toddler got a bit too close to the family dog.

The US word ‘booger‘ is another word for…well, nothing actually.  Booger isn’t anything else, so by definition this word should be THE word for our beloved congealed snot balls.

I think that’s the one we should pick (groan).

Now, since living in Las Vegas I’ve noticed a distinct difference in the quality of my nose candy.  In the UK they were slimier, wetter and more malleable.  In Las Vegas they come out like a large piece of tree bark and can be used to saw logs in half.  This is useful when you’re shy a bread knife.

Obviously this is due to the lack of humidity in the Nevadan air compared to Blighty, but I do miss rolling them up and flicking them at people.

Now I just use them as a shiv.

bark-bogey

I thought this was the land of the Free? 

In the UK there are sales and specials in the shops this time of year.  One of these specials is a 2 for 1 offer known as ‘Buy One,  Get one Free‘,  or BOGOF

This is a little tongue in cheek because the term “Bog off” is a playful version of “Fuck off“. Reserved for your kids pre-moving out age. 

Then “Fuck off”  is perfectly acceptable. 

Anyway,  in America they have the same offer,  but it’s called BOGO.

So you ‘Buy One,  Get One‘.  Isn’t that just ‘Buy one‘? 

I mean,  if I  buy a car,  I get a car. That’s what buying something is…isn’t it? 

So why leave out the word’ Free‘?  It’s not like America doesn’t like that word.  

Well,  except maybe ‘sugar-free’ 

Here kiddy, kiddy, kiddy.

There is a little known fact that American children are made of glass.

It’s true; they’re such delicate little snowflakes that the mere thought of them near danger results in the country childproofing everything!

Think of the children!”

I’d rather not; you can get arrested for that shit.

Nothing demonstrates this more than the roads outside schools. There are big signs indicating a ‘School Zone’ with yellow lights that, when flashing, indicate you must slow down to the speed limit shown on the sign.

The Police are VERY vigilant of this I’ve been told.  After all, “Think of the children!

school_zone

These speed limits vary from 25 mph all the way down to ‘Get out of your car and push it‘, and start about 30 miles outside the ‘School Zone’.  “Think of the children!

At face value this is a great idea, but I have never EVER seen an unsupervised child cross the street outside a school. This isn’t The Goonies.  In fact, I’ve never even SEEN a child outside a school when the lights are flashing.

Ever.

Oh, wait, that’s not true.  I have seen kids outside when the school kicks out.

Hundreds of little miracles, hands firmly held by their parents or being loaded into cages.  At these times there are Lollipop men/women (crossing guards) walking out into the street, slowing and stopping the traffic.  These people make the flashing signs redundant.

Take a look at this..

This is a Google street view of the school I actually attended as a 7 year old boy in England, with a school I go past regularly here in Vegas (and the inspiration for this post).

skoolsukusa

Anyone for Frogger?

Back in my day (insert Yorkshire accent here) you left school and crossed the street between parked cars by looking both ways before doing so.  It was called ‘common sense’, or ‘not wanting to be splattered by an oncoming car’.  The speed limit was (and still is) 30 mph.  It’s slow enough to stop if a child runs out, and fast enough to speed up if a child runs out.  We like choices.

But in America we have to drive 15 mph in case, god forbid, an unattended child should run out of the school, across the vast car park (parking lot), past the planters and shrubs and onto the wide open road that has no parked cars obstructing them from view.

Seriously, I could be doing 70 mph and see these little angels coming.

I’d have to work really hard to actually hit one. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Those fuckers are fast.

In this mollycoddling nation of snowflakes and participation trophies, the little lambs are never let out of the sight of their parents who usher them from the school building to their oversized SUVs like a celebrity leaving a nightclub.

papped

So why do we all have to slow down from a measly 35 mph to an awkward kiddy-fiddling kerb crawl?  I get nervous when I have to drive by a school slowly, especially with only one hand on the wheel.

10 to 2.

Eyes straight.

But seriously, where is that healthy respect for traffic we all had growing up?  What happened to looking both ways when crossing the road?  Where is the Green Cross Code?

People need to ‘Stop‘, ‘Look‘ and ‘Listen‘.

Instead they ‘Don’t Stop‘, ‘Don’t Look‘ and ‘Sue‘.

In every country in the world, pedestrians need to watch out for oncoming traffic…but in America, traffic has to watch out for oncoming pedestrians. It’s ridiculous!  I know I’ve touched on this before, but it baffles me how backward this is.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate for road safety…..but not as much as I am for natural selection.

Here kiddy, kiddy, kiddy.