I’ve recently started working at a furniture store and about half of my days right now are spent delivering furniture to customers. Mike and I drive quite a bit of the stretching flat highways, and I’ve had the neat privilege of seeing some parts of Kansas that I’ve rarely, and in some cases, never seen.
Several weeks ago we were scheduled to deliver a new table to a home in the country. After a mile or two of dirt road, we came upon a small green house built on an old farmstead. It was comfortably tucked under the branches of large trees, and sitting at the top of a small rise. Mike drove the van up close to the corner of the house. And got out, saying he needed to figure out the best spot for us to unload. I sat in the van, recovering from my recent nap, and looking out, saw him conferring with a middle aged lady in a red sweater.
Mike hopped back into the driver’s seat of the van and backed it down closer to the front door. He got out and walked toward the front of the house to check the spot where the table would go, while I opened up the back of the box van to prepare the table for unloading.
I was standing inside the back of the van, when Mike came striding back out with a grin on his face, saying, as he climbed up, “She’s got a really strong accent.”
“What kind of accent?” I asked, my attention immediately far from anything furniture related. Then came the words that changed my afternoon from fairly normal, to seven levels of cool.
“British,” Mike said.
“Yes! I love those!” I said, with what was likely a large silly grin, splitting my face in half.
I put my face back together, and we proceeded to unpack the table and get it ready for transporting indoors. I admit that, to date, I’d never had so much anticipation and eagerness just to get inside a customer’s house so I could hear her speak. As we finished unpacking, I stood there helping, and telling Mike how awesome I thought British accents were. He probably thought I was a bit off my rocker, but he did concur with most of my statements.
The two of us put the table onto the lift, lowered it to the ground, hoisted it to waist height, and carried it across the lawn to her front door. We climbed a few steps onto the porch and walked inside her front door. It opened directly into a dining room with a hardwood floor. I looked around at the room, noticing the combination of modern decor tastefully blended with softer, organic accents. “Yes,” I thought, “this looks like a house that could easily have a British person in it.”
As we set up the table, I also admit I was distracted with thoughts of, “Please, talk. Please, say something.” I figured if she had a British accent, it shouldn’t go to waste any of the time I was there to hear it.
As Mike talked to her about the table, and caring for it, she said, “Yeah” several times, which sounded disappointingly American. She said a few things, which sounded more British, so that was worthwhile to me.
The crowning moment of the experience was when the table top was completely fastened to the pedestal, and we pushed the slides, so both sides met, and you could really see the full scope of the beautiful wooden top.
Suddenly the most delightfully musical laugh burst forth, and smiling she said, “Oh, it’s beau-i-ful!”
I nearly laughed too, but not because of the beauty of the table. I did smile though, which I thought was okay, and hopefully not weird.
We said goodbye, and left her British Awesomeness, on the doorstep of the house. Packing up the few tools, and bits of trash, we closed the back truck, and headed for home. I was still feeling pretty pumped about what had just happened, and I think Mike probably found out about it. I’m guessing I talked about British accents and England on and off, for at least a few miles.
I have a not-so-secret fantasy about having a British accent. Seriously, with all the things I absolutely love about England (or think I love), I would almost move to England just to get the accent.
People pay attention to what you say when you have a British accent. When you have a British accent, you can talk about the weather or your plans for the afternoon, and it sounds epic, like you’re making a proclamation, or passing on an ancient bit of wisdom to your listeners. Normal things sound sophisticated, when said in “British.” It’s true.
And here’s the sad truth: anytime you’re in a conversation with a British person, you might as well just shut up, because anything they say, no matter how mundane, is going to sound at least ten times cooler than anything you can think up.
And I haven’t done a fact check, but do you really think there are people living in England, all distraught over afternoon tea, because they are wistful for the day when they can move to America and finally pick up our accent? Think it through. Do you think there’s even the foggiest chance of that being true? Good. I didn’t think so, either.
So, if one day, you hear that I’ve suddenly packed my bags, and moved off to England . . . You’ll know why. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.