I suppose I assumed that riding a bus would be like riding a bike: a universal skill that once you learned you never forgot how to do it that was the same in every country. But really that would just be too easy now, wouldn’t it?
Recently I went on a bus tour from England to Germany with my friend, Lizzie, and her mom and step-dad. Sounds like a tip-top cheery little tour, no? No. The charter bus picked us up from a stop in Isleham, the quaint town where we were staying, and started transporting us to a main hub where we would all get off and wait around until we switched buses to the ones that would be taking us on our respective tours around Europe.
Things started getting fishy when my identity as a brunette was making me increasingly among the minority. In fact not a single person who boarded our bus had brown hair…or red, or blonde, or black for that matter. Every single person who got on the bus that wasn’t from our group was rocking some ‘shade of gray’. I mean that in the most literal sense possible: these people were OLD. There was a couple on this bus celebrating their SIXTIETH wedding anniversary. Props to them, but it’s safe to say that this party bus was going to be far, far from bumpin’.
You might think that this shouldn’t hamper my ability to ride a bus, but let me tell you, there is a whole different dynamic from riding a school bus with a bunch of people your own age to riding a bus with a bunch of ye olde English folk.
After we started our 10-hour bus ride to Germany, Lizzie and I took over several seats in the back and spread out to go to sleep. According to the woman behind us’s reaction you would have thought we literally set up some sort of evil fountain of youth that spewed Nicki Minaj lyrics and burned pictures of the Queen simultaneously.
In reality the only sins we were committing were that we lay down in public and wore shorts instead of skirts. All three attained as the highest form of sinning in this former proper school headmistress’s eyes. I wish I could say that was an exaggeration or a joke, but this woman actually was a former molder of girls into ladies.
After she very obviously name dropped that she had been a master of manners to someone else on the bus, we seized this opportunity to provide a little bit of entertainment for ourselves. Because if someone is going to stereotype us as the lazy improper American girls, we might as well have a bit of fun with it.
Lizzie let out a very loud belch.
I can’t even describe the look on this woman’s face.
Now I don’t advise others to handle a situation such as this in a similar manner. I think the proper way to handle this situation would have been to prove her wrong, but where is the fun in that? We had to find some way to entertain ourselves on that nursing home field trip we accidentally got ourselves into.
Mannerisms aren’t really something we college students think about, I mean after all college students are all about feminist power, and by golly if men don’t have to go to proper school then neither do women! But here across the pond, mannerism is as alive as the monarchy. By that I mean, it exists and everyone respects it, but it doesn’t really have a say in how things get done.
So I’ll let you in on a little bit of advice from my grandma: when having tea with the Queen, make sure your spoon doesn’t clink against your cup.
You should probably refrain from belching, too.