Right Ho!

I don’t really know what that means, but it sounds so civil and so English!

 

I am always amazed at the civility of the British society.  It’s not just the tea and scones, it’s inherent in every day life.

I cannot help but draw comparisons to New York City, or “The City” as we East Coasters refer to it.

Most obvious is the accent.  The braying and cloying New Yawk accent makes everything uttered sound harsh and crass.  By comparison, the crisp, clear diction of the British expression makes even the the most mundane conversation seem erudite.

London is relatively quiet.  Horns rarely disturb the gentle urban hum in London.  New York city is punctuated by the blaring of horns, creating a cacophony of angry sounds day and night.

London taxis are comfortable and roomy enough to sit five people across from one another in conversation.  Often the taxi driver will chime in, offering historical footnotes, suggesting good literature, or spouting the latest soccer statistics.  I’m not sure any cab drivers in New York can even converse fluently in English, other than the occasional swear word that gets hurled out the window while dangerously cutting off a fellow driver.  In London, cars may run over the errant pedestrian, but they will not cut other cars off in traffic.

Unlike the forceful “Step Back” warnings on the curb of the NY subway tracks, the London Underground offers a polite “Mind the Gap” solicitation.  The Underground is efficient, clean, and reliable.  No waiting endlessly on platforms while the N and R subway trains fail to appear.  If there is a delay of any sort, a gentleman announces it over a clear PA system and always apologizes for the inconvenience.  No screeching static and incomprehensible mutterings from an archaic microphone.

There seems to be more patience here.  People wait calmly in queues.  Rather than fidget and fuss, the English line up and stay put, seemingly oblivious to the ineptitude or inefficiency that is causing the queue in the first place.

Salespeople approach you in stores with the eager greeting, “How can I help?

Speaking of help, I keep waiting for Mr. Carson or Jeeves to pop over and take charge of my household!  At the moment, I am immersed in the television drama, Downton Abbey, and Comic English literature such as Right Ho! Jeeves.  I know Jeff would love for me to start referring to him as “M’ lord” as they do in Downton.

Even the most common of cultural events, watching a movie, becomes a dignified experience here in London.  We recently went to see the Iron Lady at the Everyman Theater in Maida Vale. It was as if we stepped in a private screening room rather than a movie theater.  We sunk into plush chairs and sofas with ample legroom, placed our pints on adjacent cocktails tables, and noshed on delicious food served to our seats…

…perhaps by Jeeves?

Right Ho!

Jeff and his Guinness at the movies

 

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