So, I am now the proud owner of a bed. A Queen bed (please, please restrain yourselves), if you will, which it would appear is the American equivalent of a kingsize bed in the UK. The British double bed is apparently called a ‘full-size’ even though it’s only one size up from the smallest, which is itself called a twin. Of course it is. Nothing could be more obvious.
I test-drove a car at the weekend, which was a lovely experience. After driving for a bit in the gathering dusk, I realized I hadn’t yet switched on the headlights, which instilled a whole new level of confidence in my passenger. This was the saleslady, called Tammy, and she had this lovely southern accent. She also had a great way of phrasing things, such as “you can turn right here” which meant “take the next left.” And right there, if you’ll forgive the play on words, is another British-US difference, not that this blog is meant to be a list of our cultural and linguistic differences, although it might continue in that vein for bit until I run out of steam, or differences, or get bored, or forget what Britain is like. A Brit would say “take a left at the lights”. An American, particularly, I feel, in the South, might say “you can go ahead and take a left at the next intersection”. A few weeks ago, or, perhaps more accurately, before I visited Nashville for the first time in May this year, I would have thought this a terribly extravagant waste of syllables and energy. Now it just seems like a more deliberate way of engaging in conversation, and reflects the joy which is taken in even the smaller details in life here. Of course, I should really point out for the benefit of my American readers that not all Brits are as culturally and linguistically repressed as me, that would be unfair. But some of them are. Oh yes.
But back to that left turn. I did feel Tammy should really have put a comma after ‘turn’, thus:
“You can turn, right here” which would have clarified her meaning somewhat, given that only a left turn was available. If I had a copy of “Eats shoots and leaves” I would have presented it to her there and then, or possibly after I had safely made the turn. I can’t remember if this incident was before or after I had come off the interstate onto the off-ramp, and was remarking how good the car was in the corners.
“Yes. It gets a little twisty here.” she replied.
That I took to be an invitation to go right on ahead and find out how good the car really was in the corners, and so I think I might have accelerated into the “twisty” bit. Oops.
“Can you tell I was in a wreck?” she enquired, her voice possibly rising in pitch just a fraction.
“Uh, I’m sorry?” I asked.
“This bit is quite TWISTY!” she continued, in a crescendo towards fever pitch, banging on my arm with a rolled up.. sales schedule, or something. I got the point and went ahead and slowed right on down.
Turns out she had been in quite a bad car accident a few years back, which instilled in me a new level of respect that she would ride shotgun with potential car buyers trying to find just how grippy their prospective purchase was in the corners. She mentioned her ex-husband in the conversation, and I wanted to ask her had she not thought about standing by her man, but being a model of self-discipline and restraint, I didn’t.
But back to the bed, so to speak. I found it (or rather AJ did) on Craigslist, which is the US version of Gumtree. Or vice versa. Anyhow, it was in search of this bed that I found myself driving into a dark deserted industrial estate in East Nashville tonight. I pulled up to the entrance of what might have been some sort of furniture storage facility, had I been able to see it properly in the dark, alongside the seller’s pickup truck, and was shown the mattress and box spring by this girl and her bad-ass-looking black boyfriend. There was no hip-hop pumping out of the pickup’s speakers, but there might have been. I had visions of me being found lying face down on said mattress with a single bullet hole in the back of my head, but perhaps I’ve watched too many of the wrong type of movies. Real life was, as ever, considerably less dramatic (I’m grateful), and twenty minutes later the pickup pulled up outside my new house in Nashville, where I am about to start renting a room. And so my brief sojourn in Franklin is almost at an end. Alyn and AJ, who probably didn’t find it quite so brief a sojourn, are looking to take on another lodger who would be willing to pay rent in root beer, cream soda and M&Ms.
Am quite excited about my move into Music City itself, and the resulting proximity to the live music scene there, not to mention some great indy coffee shops. Cannae wait, like.