RESPONSES TO “30 PROBLEMS ONLY BRITISH PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND”
1. Not quite catching someone’s name, meaning you can never speak to them again.
Even if I do catch your name it seems I have an inbuilt filter that immediately puts it into my brain’s junk file. I, therefore, don’t refer to anyone by name in person, in case I can’t access my junk file and call everyone “mate”, or leave out any personal reference altogether. If I’m with someone else, when bumping into a friend, I turn away from my companion, pretending to not be with them and, thereby, avoid any awkward introduction moments. If, however, my junk file suddenly becomes accessible and I remember the person’s name, I’ll enthusiastically start over, using their name and begin introductions, making it look as if the person I’ve been walking with has lagged behind, at which point I normally forget my, eyebrow risen, sidekick’s name and, in some cases, my own!
2. Realising you’ve entered the wrong shop and having to pretend to look around for a bit.
I find myself looking in Ann Summers’ shops a lot of late, trying to judge the acceptable amount of time that I should stay, before I sheepishly smile and head for the exit, looking as if I’ve remembered to be somewhere else.
3. Being incapable of placing your items on the counter in a shop without saying “Just these, please.”
I feel compelled to say “no, I don’t want ear buds at discount price today, thank you!” a lot these days! Can’t help it!
4. Going in a pub to use the loo and pretending to look for a friend all the way to the toilet.
I often end up actually meeting a friend, talking for a while and then forgetting what I went in to the pub for in the first place!
5. Worrying you’ll be suspected a thief if exiting a shop without making a purchase.
Not if I’m thieving!
6. Saying you’re pleased with your haircut despite the deep inner sadness it’s causing you.
I often cut my own now and feel even sadder!
7. Deeming it necessary to do a little jog over zebra crossings, while throwing in an apologetic mini wave.
I move as slowly as possible and frown as if the driver, who happily stopped in time, almost ran me over.
8. The shock of testing Earl Grey when you expected otherwise.
Earl Grey never seems surprised!
9. Attempting to deal with a queue-jumper by staring fiercely at the back of their head.
..and talking about them to the stranger behind you as if they can’t hear, but knowing they can and you want them to hear, to annoy them, but they really aren’t bothered. Due to this I find that the best course of action is to tap on the person’s shoulder, saying “Excuse me! There’s a queue!” If no response is forthcoming I then walk in front of the jumper and encourage everyone behind me to do the same. It normally works!
10. Resigning yourself to an unusual and arduous train route, rather than risk sharing your commute with a colleague.
I find that avoiding work altogether solves this problem.
11. Writing a terribly modest CV, for fear of appearing boastful.
I reduce the size of the font to get as much in as possible!
12. Being unable to eat crisps at your desk without worrying your mouth sounds like a building site.
13. Never wanting to use an exclamation mark yet worrying you’ll come across as miserable without one.
I often use far too many!!!!!!!!!!
14. Hoping your friend finishes their story so you don’t have to miss your bus stop.
I find that smiling or looking exasperated, depending on the tone of the storyteller, whilst not actually taking in a word they’re saying stops this problem, because you can concentrate fully on your stop. Traveling by car is an even safer option to avoid this.
15. Panicking in a sandwich shop and allowing a distressingly odd combination of fillings to happen.
Packed lunch is the only way forward, unless you favour Greggs.
16. Allowing your bladder to explode rather than wake a fellow plane passenger.
Securing an aisle seat is a must or making sure you have an, almost finished, two litre, screw top plastic bottle of fruit juice with you, preferably pineapple. Boats and automobiles are other alternative forms of transport.
17. Nodding silently when your barber says “Is that alright?” even when it isn’t.
This is no. 6 reworded for men!
18. Not being able to say “great” without sounding sarcastic.
Great Britain doesn’t sound sarcastic at all, but it’s existence is the epitome of sarcasm.
19. Not wanting to use an emoticon yet worrying you’ll come across as sarcastic without one.
What’s an emoticon?
20. Receiving an email ending in “regards” and wondering what you’ve done to cause so much anger.
Deleting all emails before reading them solves this problem, then, when quizzed about it in person, simply reply that it must have got lost.
21. Asking to sample an ale, disliking it and ordering a whole pint so as not to further waste the barman’s time.
Drink only Guinness and then you know what you’re going to get! Pissed!
22. Seeing someone you know walking just ahead of you, so stopping dead in the street until they’re completely out of sight.
My alternative action accounts, in part, for no. 2!
23. Losing faith in your delivery halfway through a joke, so just explaining what the punchline was going to be and why.
Be miserable and never tell jokes.
24. Nearly washing the skin off your hands so as not to pressure using the dryer.
Doesn’t make sense!
25. Pretending to look at things you don’t even want in the supermarket when someone else is browsing the food you do.
Comparing fruit and vegetable size is far more fun than looking elsewhere! Even better when done silently and slowly rubbing your hands over a cucumber. This doesn’t work if it’s plastic wrapped and you’ll more than likely be asked to leave the store!
26. Being unable to turn and walk in the opposite direction without first taking out your phone and frowning at it.
See no. 2, again!!
27. Noticing a small patch of blue sky and immediately purchasing 24 cases of Pimm’s.
This is never going to happen. Ann Summers don’t sell Pimms.
28. Running out of ways to say thanks when a succession of doors are held for you, having already deployed ‘cheers’, ‘ta’, and ‘nice one.’
“Thanks” is a worthwhile alternative.
29. Shutting yourself in the wardrobe until the window cleaner has finished and left.
Not moving and trying not to breathe is a much better option, or turning the telly up and employing the use of mime without looking in the window cleaner’s direction is a fun alternative.
30. Assuring your hairdresser the water temperature is fine, despite a strong suspicion your scalp is beginning to melt.
I refer you back to no 6. Spluttering and pretending to drown is another alternative.