OT: Jesse Leaves England - "Things I've Learned"

Sorry, Kev. Hopefully in a few days.

It's kind of handy that this afternoon's game was rained off. Honestly, my life has been so saturated with...stuff...over the last ten weeks, and especially these last two weeks, that it's nice to be able to write this without fretting over a recap that I'll need to stay up until 2am to finish properly. My life has been saturated because, as you can tell from the title of this post, I'm leaving England.

I've loved it here. I love that, in the middle of winter, I don't need to worry about how the mail post will reach my front door because you don't have to shovel rain. I love the accents for the most part (although some of the most daft of British accents are worse than the worst American accents), although nothing tops a lass with an Irish lilt. But I can assure you: this move has not come too soon. I'm ready for good Mexican food, The Daily Show & Colbert Report, and yes, baseball at a decent hour more than once or twice a week.

With all that in mind, however, I did want to share with you a few things that I've learned while living abroad for the last three-and-a-half years (which, bizarrely, constitutes more than half of Twinkie Town's existence, not to mention the astronomical growth we've experienced since I left the homeland). I'll get to that after the jump.

Sausage Rolls

Oh. My. Gawd. How has America not figured this out yet? Or maybe some hipster community already has and I'm just unaware of it. For anyone who is entirely unfamiliar with what a sausage roll is, it's essentially ground sausage (high quality sausage, none of that bratwurst bullshit - some of you will think I'm joking when I tell you that the British have perfected sausages to the point of it being an art, but they have) wrapped in a flaky pastry. You can eat them warm or cold, but if you get yourself a high-quality sausage roll and heat it up you'll be hard pressed to find a more handy and delicious meat-and-pastry based product on the planet.

InsultingTerminology

You're a nob. A wanker. This song is pants. She's a dozy bint. Your boyfriend's a [redacted] plonker. Rubbish. Tosser. My ability to insult someone based not just on vocabulary, but tone and inflection, has grown exponentially in the last three-and-a-half years.

British Comedy

I've always been a fan of certain Brit comedies anyway. Monty Python was one of my biggest comedic influences growing up, although they belonged to my parents' generation, and Eddie Izzard's Glorious and Dress to Kill standups made me laugh so hard I cried the first time I saw them.

But if you want to try something completely different, the next time you're on Netflix see if you can get these into your queue onto your list: Outnumbered, The Inbetweeners, Green Wing, Peep Show, The Mighty Boosh, IT Crowd, Father Ted, The Vicar of Dibley. Some of those are quintessentially British and distinctly un-American, while others will be more relatable. But they're fun.

The Infamous British Reserve

Brits are known for a dry and sometimes cutting sense of humour humor. They can be subtle. They don't often like to place blame or call someone out in public for doing a terrible job. There is very much an attitude that, no matter how bad things are, well...it could always be worse. Obviously there are caveats to these, but they're generalities.

It comes from a history, a relatively recent history, of going without. Particularly in World War II, when the Axis Powers were bombing London and defeat seemed inevitable, and then in the years after when the country was broke, rationing wasn't a temporary thing it was a lifestyle. That sense of potential defeat, of having war on your soil, of having an entire generation brought up on rations, it's heaped on top of hundreds of years of British history to culminate in a sense of reservation. I think that could be interpreted as a very brash statement, except it came from a conversation I had more a passive than active part in. As these British friends, some younger and some much older, had this conversation, it struck me as oddly poignant. Maybe I'm too tired and not explaining it well enough, but I found it a very intriguing perspective from insiders on their own culture...and some of the culture of America, too.

America has a different history, a different geographical size, a different socioeconomic foundation. In some sense those things are reasons why our culture can be seen as (and many of us are, whether we know it or not) brash, loud, confident, or having a sense of entitlement.

I'm not trying to make any deep argument here, just provide some food for thought. That conversation has stayed with me. And it's perspectives like those that have been some of the better parts of my experience here.

That's my one serious comment. Let's get irreverent once again.

Chavs

I don't want to describe chavs for fear of upsetting the chavs, and for fear of upsetting the groups I might compare to chavs. But I will show you this.

Commercial Breaks

I always knew that the number of commercials and commercial breaks on television bugged the hell out of me. But it wasn't until my last trip to the States when I realized how terrible it really was. Nursing a hangover I was watching Major League on Comedy Central. It was great! I hadn't seen it in years, got into it...and then a commercial came on. For four minutes.

So I waited. And the movie came back on. And I got into it again, and something was just about to happen...and then a commercial came on. Four more minutes.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to watch a movie on American television. And sitcoms aren't much better. BBC has no advert commercial breaks, and most other stations will take about three minutes' break every fifteen minutes. I can't tell you how fantastic that is when watching something you actually want to watch.

Girls Love American Accents...Their Guys Might Not

Yep. Turns out just having an American accent works. Of course if her small village boyfriend shows up and already has a prejudice towards Americans...

Finally...a quick thank you

I've been here for three-and-a-half years. That's a long time. And probably too long. But I can't really overstate how amazing and important this community has been. Baseball has been a lifeline for me, and you've all been a big part of that. Being able to log onto the site everyday and talk with people about a team and sport I'll always love didn't just help my transition into the UK, but it helped balance and normalize my life. So thanks to all of you for being a part of that, and for being, in many ways, a perpetual conduit to home.

I'll probably be MIA from the site for a few days, but hopefully not more than a week. A familiar face and community member will be filling in for my game threads and recaps for the next week, but I'll let her tell you all about that herself. If she wants. She could just choose to surprise you instead.

The next time you hear from me, I'll be Stateside. Have a great week everyone!

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