The Difference Between an Englishman and an American

September 19, 2007, 9:30 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Chloe  | 6 Comments

I have, on many occasions, been accused of being an Anglophile. People say this to me with any number of emotions in their voice, ranging from disgust to perplexity. They have horrible food, bad teeth, and haughty demeanors. Why would I choose to be obsessed with the English culture? How could I betray America like that?

Gentility. They have it. We don’t.

On my way from the airport to my new home, I had to carry two 50-pound bags on the metro, up and down many flights of steps, and through vast crowds of people enclosed in tight spaces. I had no idea how I was going to do it alone, and I was sorely tempted to spend an outrageous amount of money on a taxi to avoid it altogether. However, when I got onto the platform for the train from the airport to the Underground and started struggling with my suitcases, a man nearby carried them into the train for me. On the way out of the train, another person did the same thing. When I reached the Tube, people walked around me, didn’t bump me or harass my luggage, and helped me on and off the train.

The real kicker, however, was when I got to my home stop and faced a huge escalator, many people, and the difficulty of getting through the narrow ticket passage. A little old lady, not more than five feet tall and somewhere between 65 and 70 years old, swooped in and announced that she was going to help me. She grabbed a suitcase right out of my hand and carried it off. I thought for sure that she was trying to steal it, but of course she wouldn’t have gotten far, since she couldn’t have weighed more than twice what the bag did. She carried it all the way out of the station before handing it back to me, then nodded once and walked off. I have never experienced that type of kindness in a big American city.

While England is much more secular than America, its people seem to understand something that we don’t: those around us are people, too. We as a general population are very capable of walking by a struggling person and ignoring them. The English do not. They treat each other with respect, even saying “Sorry” whenever they bump into someone on the street. Americans keep walking, or worse, instigate something. This flaw in our society saddens me even more in the context of our beliefs. We’re supposed to be a Christian nation. Where did our common courtesy go?


Comments

6 Comments to “The Difference Between an Englishman and an American”

  1. Connie on September 19th, 2007 10:48 am

    Oh my goodness I want to come there so bad right now.

  2. Connie on September 19th, 2007 10:50 am

    Although I must say in my country’s defense, that our Southern siblings have better manners than the rest of the country as a rule, but nothing like what you’ve described.

  3. Tom on September 19th, 2007 2:06 pm

    Put me down for perpgust.

  4. David on September 19th, 2007 5:11 pm

    As I have said before, Southern hospitality is like drinking a diet coke. There is an initial sensation of sweetness but it quickly dissipates leaving the distinct impression that something isn’t quite genuine. Especially if you are a Yankee.

  5. Steve on September 19th, 2007 5:56 pm

    Perpgust?

    Worth noting that New York won out in the last civility survey I saw, with London in the middle… I’m glad it was different for you!

  6. Chloe on September 20th, 2007 2:53 am

    Eh, those thigns are rigged.

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