Today, I wanted to try to appreciate the small things, but that did not go to plan. At first, I did appreciate the small things. I enjoyed my coffee. I enjoyed the smell of the new, homemade cleaning product from a colleague. But then, there was a discussion about a topic I thought had been settled ages ago, but now someone didn’t want to follow the agreement. And then, a colleague decided to go off about a policy and give information to someone who did not need a lecture, but just needed to know where to go, and I had to repeat myself several times to make myself heard with the correct answer. And finally, I was asked to sort something that felt above my level and not appropriate. I even ran errands because others did not have time. I was feeling very sorry for myself and very put upon by the end of the day. And then, sadly, we had to eat late because my husband was running late, so I was feeling very sorry for myself (and hungry) by 8:30pm when we finally ate. So, appreciating the small things did not go very well today.
The thought provoking thing for me today was thinking back over something that happened at the weekend. We went to the lecture with Mark Gatiss and he made a point to ask a girl who was asking a question if she was American and then made a jokey apology about Trump. This got me very riled and slightly offended, and my British compatriots who were with me, kept saying it was just a joke and seemed embarrassed by my reaction. Their reaction caused me to pause and think. Why did I have such a reaction? As I thought about it, I realised that firstly, I was upset because a man in power took time out of answering a question that was asked of him in good faith to point out this person’s difference. He then made a joke that any American living in Britain has heard hundreds of times. One that, over the course of 10 years, starts to grate a bit. Why did he feel the need to single her out? Why choose a joke that is just so worn out from over use and to potentially embarrass her in that way? I love banter in this country, really I do. It is one of my favourite parts about Britain. But why does the banter with Americans always have to be about their being American? After 10 years, I have heard every joke going about Americans and America. Trump has increased this, yes, but you would think after Brexit, Britain would sympathise. But nope, they have to be out there laughing that America’s decision may have been worse than theirs. So, if you have an American expat friend, do them and me a favour. Banter with them about their looks, their laugh, their ridiculous tattoo, whatever, not just that they are American. Don’t make their original nationality the go to for banter. Make them feel human and not just an American.