Wednesday 25 May 2011

The Great Unknown

I know I act like a big know-it-all most of the time, but there are still a few things (and way more than are included in this post) that baffle me about my new-ish country.  Maybe you can help me figure it all out.

Painful Pumping
I've touched on this before, but why oh why do gas/petrol nozzles not have those little flippy bits that will keep the gas flowing for you without having to hold it the whole time?   Yeah, yeah, I'm sure its a health and safety issue (isn't everything?) and that my pro-flippy latch campaign isn't helped by the fact that it seems California has done away with them, but seriously, my hand hurts after filling the tank!  Is there no health and safety concern for my weak hand muscles?! 

The Placebo Effect
I recently had an appointment to change my birth control pill (sorry if that's a tad TMI) and innocently asked if the new pills would have the week of placebo pills included.  I was shocked when the told me all but two brands of birth control pills in the UK do not have this extra week.  What is this about!? Doesn't everyone know that not taking a pill (sugar or real pill) interrupts the all-important habit of taking the pill at the same time every day and greatly increases the risk of forgetting to take the pill again for the next three weeks?  I asked her why there were no placebos and she told me (I'm so not kidding!) "I guess we're more responsible here."   WTF!?

I wish I had known then that, according to recent reports, there are almost 400,000 unintended pregnancies in the UK every year with 40% ending in abortion.  I'm not saying that the inclusion of placebo pills in birth control pill packs would lower the rate any measurable amount, but I can't seem to understand any argument against them.

Will Work For Tea
Dear Mr. Workman - do you get paid when you come to my house to fix my boiler?  Oh you do??  Then why am I expected to also feed and water you whilst you are WORKING at my house?

Seriously, what is it with this?

 If you've not yet experienced an English workman, let this be a warning to you that you will be expected to be both his client and his wife.  I have no idea where this whole thing started and even less of an idea of why it still is the norm, but much to my displeasure, workmen are supposed to be given tea (and biscuts if you are really nice I guess) while they are working in your home*.  Now, correct me if I am wrong, but a workman drinking tea isn't a workman fixing my boiler, so why on earth would I want to pay someone to drink my tea and create more dishes for me to wash?  We even had a guy from the phone company at our office the other day and he called us out on the fact that we didnt offer him tea (because we were all very busy!) and when he mentioned it, all the ladies in the office jumped up and immediately apologized and frantically made tea. Apologizing for doing your work and leaving a man to do his work?  Really? 

If you really need to be drinking tea instead of working for the hour or two while you are at my house or office, first of all - you have a serious addiction and should probably know that tea stains teeth; and second of all - bring it yourself.

*Yes, I am sure there are some very polite people in America who do this as well, and if thats you, spare me the "I even do this and  I'm American" comments.  Clearly, you are just nicer than me, which lets face it - isnt very difficult.


  1. Not sure where I was living in the US, but I've never seen a flippy latch thingie and my pills didn't have the placebo week! (Actually, they did have the placebo week once upon a time, but it was discontinued which pleased me because it made the whole kit-and-caboodle a bit smaller.)

  2. I have taken the flippy latch thing for granted all these years, as I did not know that England does not have them! NOOO! I agree, it hurts my hand to hold it for so long. And secondly, it's gross for me to hold my hand for 5 minutes on that dirty nozzle where super-bacteria from GodKnowsWhere are having a party. Gross. I'd be happy to join your campaign to get the flippy latch things started!

  3. Preface: I live in California. So my pills always have the placebo week and I thought too we would not longer have the latchy thing and told my husband. Well so far we have only been to one gas station without it and he has told me every week when we get gas since how the latch is there. So California would do me a favor actually by getting rid of them! ;)

  4. When you figure this country out, let me know! Truely a mystery to me. Besides expecting tea they will all complain about not wanting to work and how difficult the work is. the painter who came by gave me shit for telling them if they wanted tea they would have to make it themselves and would have to heat water in the microwave. For whatever reason, they did NOT want water heated in the microwave.....

  5. ha ha! You really have me laughing here. Awesome post.
    I miss the latch too, and blogged about it too a while back. It hurts my hand too!

    Seriously can't believe your GP said that too you!!