Goody Two Shoes Goes to the USA
Two weeks have passed by and there are a thousand things to tell. One recurring question that I received stays with me, and the inevitable confusion that always followed. It happened so many times I began to get exasperated
Here is just one version of many:
AP = American Person GTS = me H = husband
AP: “Good day Madam. How are you/is your day? How are you doing? How can I help you?”
GTS: (Weak smile whilst waiting for them to finish and thinking suspiciously, ‘What is it with these people? They are so nice and friendly!’) “I would like a cup of coffee please.”
AP: (Fleeting shock face) “Where are you from?”
GTS: “Where was I born or where did I come from?”
AP: “Erm .......”
H: “People are waiting behind us.”
GTS: “I was born in England but came to America from Jerusalem, where live.”
AP: (Quick glance at H) “Shalom! My friends, cousins, aunts, dog-walker emigrated there.”
GTS : “That's interesting, but I am not Jewish and my husband is Palestinian.”
AP : “Oh I know some Muslims too.”
GTS : “Yes, me too. My husband is Christian background, by the way.”
H : “Stop it and hurry up. The queue is almost at the door.”
AP : (Completely confused) “How do you want your coffee?”
Then she proceeds with a long list of at least 20 different types, several kinds of sweetener, sizes and endless possibilities of things to go with the coffee.
GTS : (My turn to be confused. Blank look with a dose of panic.)
H: (Eye rolling)
GTS : “Hot with water and some milk .......do you have instant?”
AP : “What? Sorry madam, I don't understand.”
H : “Two white drips with splendour.”
AP : (Look of relief) “Coming right up.”
GTS : (Furious with H as I think he has called me a drip.)
Sometimes, when I answered that I came from Jerusalem, people replied:
“Where is that?”
“It is on my bucket list” (By far the most popular response)
“Oh how wonderful! Sand and palm trees?”
“Is everybody friends yet?”
“Jerusalem Pennsylvania? Or Jerusalem Ontario?”
It got quite exhausting, explaining for 10 minutes about myself and H before I could buy a cup of coffee or a sandwich. Why did I feel I had to? What difference did it make? Being asked, I quickly realised, bore no relation to the asker’s interest.
What a relief to be away, for a short while, from all the stresses of life here.
I could be one of those do-gooders that was helping an illegal boat person for all anybody cared (that's what people think in my home country). That might be a little less complicated than the real story.
Advice: Always know your coffee order before you get to the counter and just nod and smile at any general questions.