10 October 2010

The More Things (Don't) Change, The More They Stay the Same

In three short months, I have managed to forget a few things about English life. Or perhaps more accurately, things that had ceased to surprise me, that had become routine, now seem as unusual to me as they did at first. In some instances, experience these things again has been a reminder that has caused me to chuckle or appreciate with new freshness life in Oxford, in others, old frustrations have returned in waves, and in some, the surprises have been downright dangerous.

Here are a few of the things that I had temporarily forgotten:

1. Cars Drive on the left side of the road.

Yes, this was one of the 'dangerous'. I was walking a family of Canadians to Jamie's Italian (they were only walking in the wrong direction about 1.5 miles from the restaurant). As I was showing them some good old fashioned midwestern hospitality, and motioning to the route that they could have taken to the restaurant, the mother gasped as I was almost hit by a car. Lesson learned. (This might have had more to do with the fact that I just wasn't paying attention, but I do need to get readjusted to the flow of traffic.)

2. It is still ok for women to wear white (yes!) even after labor day. (I told you mom).

Also, surprisingly enough (or not), it is still ok for men to wear pink pants, red skinny jeans, and other fashion statements that I would find questionable. Just to clarify, I am not surprised that they can be worn at this time of year, but rather that they can ever be worn. But if I am being completely honest, I am not surprised at all--I just forgot what it was like.

3. Pedestrians still refuse to use sidewalks. Shocker.

This is one of those unfortunate surprises that is not surprising at all. It has always been difficult to navigate amongst people off for an afternoon stroll, window shoppers, and tourists--especially on the weekend--but let's just say that when your bike has two gears (which you cannot choose between), and tends to catch when you have bursts of pedalling, this pedestrians-in-the-street phenomenon takes on a new dimension of irritating.

At one point yesterday as my bike popped, caught, and swerved, I thought of an arrangement that I think could work for everyone. Hey, pedestrians--I'll make you a deal. If you refuse to walk in the street, I will NEVER ride my bike on the sidewallk. No, this wouldn't involve any changes as a cyclist, but it seems to be a fair arrangement and one that would make all of our lives safer, easier, and less angry (ok, maybe that would just be my life).

To be continued...(so much material to work from)

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