It hasn’t taken long for us to figure out that there are three conversation starters you are likely to hear on a daily basis since we made England our new home.
Are You Alright?
This is the standard greeting. Walk into the pub, the bar tender will question your current mood before you place your order. Just because someone asks if you are alright doesn’t usually mean they care too much about the response. It’s just one of those things. Whether you choose to reply with ‘I’m fine thanks, you?’ or delve into your current troubles or engage in general chit chat. Either is acceptable.
The question as to whether you are alright is sometimes coupled with the ‘hiya’ and can also sometimes be shortened to ‘alright?’ or ‘you alright’. May also be preceded by the ‘Oi, Oi,’ greeting although this one’s usually encountered when meeting the lads for a cheeky pint.
The Weather in England
It might be pissing down with rain, bitterly frigid or you might, as strange as it may seem, be baking in sunshine. Either way you will be told about it by a complete stranger even though you are also experiencing the exact same conditions.
“Beautiful day isn’t it” or “how’s this rain” are two phrases you are almost guaranteed to hear on a given day as strangers take a stab at small talk. Work colleagues will also get pleasantries started on the day by telling you how cold it is when you’ve already had to walk in it for 15 minutes to get to the office.
See You Later
The open-ended farewell. This has to be one of my favourites. Whether it’s your significant other, the pizza delivery man, taxi driver, or cashier at the supermarket who has just told you about the two weeks she’s just spent in Spain, Greece or Turkey you will be told ‘see you later’. When is later? Nobody knows really.
Visiting somewhere quaint for the weekend and not sure when you will be returning? Well the waiter at the tea shop knows because they will “see you later”. Does that mean in five minutes? Five hours? Five months? Five years? It’s all very open-ended.
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