This post was originally written down the other day, in a notebook, sitting in a cafe with K. Post follows:
I’m not sure why, but I can’t bring myself to complain in shops. Maybe it’s a British thing. Maybe it’s a shy geek thing. Nevertheless, whatever the reason, I can’t bring myself to complain in shops, which is why I am sitting here in a cafe drinking herbal tea, instead of the cold drink I was planning to enjoy. I don’t normally drink herbal tea, at all, and sometimes when I’m thirsty I like to have a cold drink then a hot drink, close on each other’s heels. The server misunderstood me – it is a chilly day, after all, and I received two hot ones.
No doubt the server – who sounds American and therefore almost certainly would complain if she found herself in my situation – would not mind if I’d said: hang on, I meant the cordial, not the herbal tea. But, being shy, and geeky, and English, I said nothing, and decided that I would enjoy the tea even though I hadn’t meant to order it. Fortunately, it’s actually quite nice.
Today, of course, we should all be marching around with a bulldog on the end of a string, eating roast beef and Yorkshire puddings,* and generally Being Patriotic. It’s St. George’s Day, so all English people should rise up and be proud of their Englishness.
The Plain People Of The Internet: Hang on there! What’s this siren going off here for?
A Siren (unnamed): Weee-oooo, weee-oooo (etc).
Ah, I see you’ve found my new Excess Sarcasm Alarm then.** Damn, I thought for a minute there was a risk you might believe me. Here’s a tip: if anyone tells we should be doing more to celebrate it, back away slowly. You could always suggest they move to Sofia, or anywhere else in Bulgaria, where St George’s Day is celebrated rather more fervantly than here. I’m always wary of patriotism for patriotism’s sake. If you want to be patriotic, go out and make your community a better place, every day of the year.
* even though they taste much better with lemon and sugar, like pancakes. The pudding, not the beef.
** Only £15.99 from all good electronics stores, as soon as I can find enough unobtanium to power them all
Apparently there’s some sort of international football competition coming around again. I’m going to do my best, after this post, not to mention it. As I might have said in the past, I don’t care about football at all. Neither does Big Dave, even though if you met him you’d probably expect him to be a supporter.* If there’s one thing both me and Big Dave dislike more than football, though, it’s the assumption that even though we don’t like football we must be interested in the World Cup. We get funny looks just because we don’t give a toss whether England win or lose.
People do seem really surprised if you tell them you don’t care at all about it. Even people who aren’t football supporters, and who would never normally watch football. They say things like: “But it’s the World Cup!”
“Yes, I know! It’s football! I hate football!”
“But England are playing! You’re English! You have to support England! You have to at least watch the England matches.”**
“Um … no, I don’t. It’s football. I hate football. Just because I don’t want to watch football on the telly doesn’t mean I’m suddenly Not Really English.” And at that point they usually give up, and look at me a bit oddly for the rest of the day. They don’t seem to get that I just don’t care about football, any football.
So, I’m not going to watch it, or write about it. The only thing that will get me to watch England playing in it, is if somebody ties me up in front of the telly so I can’t get away from it. A cruel torture indeed.
* he would fit right into the traditional football-supporting demographic without too much trouble – especially if, like me, you only saw him in a shirt and tie at work, so didn’t realise that he doesn’t wear sportswear at home.
** all, ooh, three of them.