This place matters

This place matters

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Same planet, different worlds

So Jeremy and I are at the National Museum in London, checking out the Rosetta Stone and the body of freaking Cleopatra (like you do), and I visit the restroom. A museum employee apologized for the fact that  the blow-dryers were broken and I replied I'd just wipe my hands dry on my pants.
Up until that point, I'd been doing all right with the lingo (thank you, BBC America), but that all ended when I told the kindly old museum docent that I like to dry my hands on my underwear. 
Seems it's not just soccer and football that Americans and Englishmen can't agree on (I am with the English on that one, by the way - the game that consists solely of kicking a ball with your foot should be called football). Another pair of expressions with opposite meanings are public and private schools. Here, private schools cost money and public schools are free. There, it's the opposite. 
The things we call cookies, they call biscuits. Jeremy went into a KFC to try to figure out what the buttermilk biscuits were called there. They don't have them (in related news, KFC sells other food besides biscuits). Chips here are called crisps there, and chips there are called fries here. And "curry sauce" is a thing you dip your fries in, but appears to be gravy with curry powder added to it (and disgusting). There, if you mention a car's hooter, you're not claiming that a vehicle has a breast, but that it has a horn.
Cars in England have bonnets and boots, rather than hoods and trunks. Station wagons here are called estates there. 
Also, Dennis the Menace exists on both sides of the pond, but the two comic strips, both of which first appeared in 1951, are completely unrelated.
The best thing about British museums is that they're full of stuff that they obtained before
it was considered uncool to just go to somebody's island and take their treasures.

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