Cultural Perspectives

Having lived in at least two different countries, I have a number of perspectives on the differences between them. I think there are enough to write a book about it.

In England, where I was born, you cannot use a cell (mobile!) phone at a gas (petrol!) station. This is in case the planet explodes. In the United States I use my phone all the time at gas stations and – get this – they don’t explode.

A gas station valiantly not exploding due to cell phone usage

A gas station valiantly not exploding due to cell phone usage

In London the parks are littered with monuments to long-forgotten wars. You can’t walk five minutes in Hyde Park without learning about the heroic actions of Lt. Colonel. Montgommery Somethingorother and the war of 1846. There’s even a gigantic monument to dead animals in wars. I’m not joking, it’s 58 ft. across with life-size horses. In the US parks feel like SimCity or legoland. It’s as if someone clicked a button and – poof – a square acre of grass appears. Like a front garden, the grass is just to be looked at and not actually used.

In Britain you’re forced to take your car to special government-approved mechanics every year, this doesn’t depend on anything being actually wrong with the car. Here in the US, you fix things when they go wrong.

When I land in a commercial plane in the United States I can immediately turn on my phone and use it. In England you cannot, in case the aircraft explodes. This has only very recently begun to change.

In America it feels like I have to stop. At. Every. Intersection. This wastes fuel, wears the brakes on the car and more. In England there are roundabouts which I can slow down at, but keep moving.

In Britain there is a notion of “the special relationship” whereby it somehow enjoys referential diplomatic status with the United States. In the United States, this is approximately fantasy.

There’s an interesting bias in British and other ex-pats living in the US. Very few of us want to go back. By definition, the ones that leave aren’t likely to want to return. It’s probably true in the inverse, US citizens living in England.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes