Today at the train station Jay left me to stand in the queue (aka what the British call a line) while he got a coffee. When it was my turn, I walked up to the woman and told her I would like two tickets to Oxford.
“Oshford?” she asks.
“Oxford,” I smile.
“Osh-ford,” she repeats.
“Umm, Ox-ford, please,” I reply, slightly confused why she can’t understand me.
“Could you spell that ma’am?”
She cuts me off, “Oh, Oshford (with a “why-didn’t-you-just-say-so” look). You’re American, aren’t you?”
I smile tentatively, not sure if this is a good or bad thing. Hoping for the first option, I somewhat apologetically reply,”Yes, I am.” Why I was apologizing I’m not sure… Sorry for being American? Sorry for my midwestern accent? Sorry I can’t say Oshford in proper English? Note: I am a PROUD American, but I do realize that sometimes we are not looked at in the kindest light. Especially when we just kicked a** in the Olympics (WHAT UP).
She smiles (whew). “Would you like a single or return?”
This question still gets me. Why can’t they just say a one-way or roundtrip? Luckily, Jay jumps into the conversation with his ice coffee in hand.
“Return,” he says.
She smiles again. I think she likes us.
“Eleven pounds, please,” she says.
“Here ya go (handing her my card)… but it’s a swipe,” I say, somewhat apologetically again (they have chips in the credit cards here, so no one has to “swipe” their card).
She hesitates. Not wanting to make her life harder than I already have, I dig out some cash.
“Would this be better?” I hold out a 20 pound bill before she can finish.
“Yes, but (she looks in her cash bag) it would be better if you had 21 pounds, so I can just give you this (10 pound) bill (instead of a gazillion coins).”
I’m not sure if we will ever get tickets…
Until Jay digs out another pound.
This time, we both apologize for being difficult and taking so much of her time.
Then she says, “Compared to most people, you two are angels.”
I knew she liked us. Point for the Americans.