‘WHERE’S THE LOO?’

So in the UK ‘Where’s the loo?’ is perfectly acceptable polite stranger conversation. As is, ‘Where’s the toilet?’

Toilets

Now, when I first arrived in LA I was smart enough to cotton on quickly that ‘loo’ wasn’t going to work out too well for me. It doesn’t usually get you a response too quickly amidst all the belly laughs and general group amusement. Which isn’t the best, especially when you do actually really need to find the loo, not merely laugh about the idiosyncracies of language.

Which of course, I am more than happy to do at times when I’m not about to wee myself.

So naturally I went with ‘toilet.’ A strong choice, I thought. I mean, that’s perfectly acceptable. After all we all know what a toilet is and what it’s for. Clear communication all round. Fantastic.

Apparently not. When I said ‘toilet,’ people looked at me as if to say ‘Woah there! STOP! That is TOO MUCH information about where you are going and what you will be doing there. Disgusting.’

Here, you say ‘restroom’ or ‘bathroom.’ Now, restroom is very nice and pleasant. But really, it isn’t that descriptive or at all accurate.

I only wish there were rooms with giant big comfy beds of varying mattress strength to suit all tastes that we could all nip over to for a quick forty winks a few times a day. Maybe with coin-operated electric blanket machines. And complimentary eye-creams if you’re at a posh one. Then you’d be able to say, quite truthfully, ‘Oh don’t mind me I’m just popping to the rest-room.’

‘Oh me too! I’ll come and tuck you in’

And I mean really, that would be lovely. But is that the reality? No. You’re not going to rest. You’re going to use the toilet. We all know that.

So I could never really get ‘restroom’  to roll off the tongue. Even-though I do enjoy the concept, it doesn’t always arrive in my mouth when most needed.

So I’m left with bathroom. Which again, similar problems. Is there a bath there? No. A bathroom is in your house. If you asked a British person where the bathroom is they’d assume you were inviting yourself over to their house, possibly for a shower. Which might not always be exactly what you’re after.

I’ve had to do cognitive exercises to think of a ‘bathroom’ as the larger bathroom belonging to the proverbial public space in order to make the right mental leap. This was a different kind of toilet-training. It’s taken serious dedication just to get the casual use of the word ‘bathroom’ in social situations totally down.

So brilliant. All well and good. I’m blending it. People don’t think I’m gross. I can find the toilet without having to say toilet. Gold star me.

Then, last summer, approx a year after arriving to LA I went back to the UK for a visit. I was at a classy Edinburgh lunch spot with my known-each-other-since birth BFF. We’re treating ourselves because after all it’s been a while. We’re probably the loudest people that have ever eaten there, and you’d be hard-pressed to find our apple crumble portions with a microscope, but the Scottish waiter is pretty fit. Life is good.

So afterwards I pop on over to our new waiter friend and I’m like:

‘Excuse me, but where’s the bath-toilet?’

Because apparently that’s when my brain exploded.

‘Bathroom’ – might have got away with or at least could have explained quickly in a nonchalant manner. ‘Just flew in from LA. You know how it is. I meant the toilet, of course. I didn’t mean I was coming over to yours for a shower. Unless you– No?’ You know. Something casual like that.

‘Toilet-room.’ Bit weird but at least pretty much dead on accurate. Your basic, leave quickly afterwards.

But ‘bath-toilet?’ I mean, what on earth is a bath-toilet? Wherever your mind is going, it’s not good is it.

So it turns out that he didn’t know where the bath-toilet was. He explained they only had regular toilets.

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THE KATE MIDDLETON COMPLEX

(Or how Kate Middleton has affected my printing expenditure since I moved to LA)

People here always tell me I sound classy. Or that they’ve suddenly jumped into a BBC documentary. Or Downton Abby. For a few glorious seconds people hear my accent and they think I might be sophisticated – that I might be the type to nibble on crumpets with the Duchess of Pirouettes and the Earl of Please-pass-the-butter-again without knocking over the teapot. (Yes.That was the exact wording of their thoughts.)Then they know me for a few more. Seconds, that is. Because how exactly are you meant to eat egg and soldiers without throwing most of it down your front? I didn’t classically train in ballet.

When the bar is set to someone who is sincerely rocking THIS hat:

Katemiddletonhat

you might as well just hand cards out that say ‘I will disappoint you.’

(I would probably drop them all on the floor.) Can you imagine – someone coming to help you reorganise your disappointment pre-warning cards? ‘Oh, terribly sorry I would give you one but I think they’ve become a bit redundant’ *Nervous Laughter* No response. *Hand self a card*

So cheers Kate. Nice one.  It’s fine if you are a MAGICAL SWAN-BEING NOT OF THIS EARTH or you know, married to a Prince.

Kate-Middleton-Wedding-Dress-81

Casual.

I just tried to do a Queen-wave and poked myself in the eye. I’ll go print some more cards.

If you read the small print on my cards it will warn you that when I get over-excited in meetings talking about something I inadvertently fling my pen across the room. So sorry if my pen hits you in the face. It’s only because I’m having a fantastic time with you.

People in the UK were pretty disconcerted with my over-excited hand-talking. So you can imagine the reaction I get here when I’m meant to be at the Shakespeare opera with my Butler and Benedict Cumberbatch quibbling over whether or not it’s meant to rain later on.

Crowd using umbrellas at Queen's diamond jubilee, 5 June 2012

(It will)

So okay the thing about talking about the weather is true. And the stuff about the actual weather. And so I also love Shakespeare. But I don’t have a butler, okay!

Apart from my imagination Butler who I can blame things on. ‘Oh Cuthbert you’ve spilt the tea all over me again! You shouldn’t do your penguin walk when you’re carrying hot liquids – what have I told you? You’re such a disappointment.'(I’m not that harsh. I even let him wear cravats on the weekends.)

Cravat

And while we’re on the subject. Of tea. Keep up. Tea trumps a cravat segue. Just. It’s my favourite and most preferred British person stereotype. It’s about the single BEST and truly magical thing across the entirety of existence, and you know, somewhat accurate.

So when you meet me go ahead and think TEA and DISAPPOINTMENT and cravats if you want, but just not sophistication.

In the meantime, I’m forwarding Kate my printing expenses.