Monday, October 6, 2008

Under the Weather

Cultural Anecdotes, Part I

I lived for a number of years in Australia as a child. Even though my memories of that time are somewhat sketchy, I remember my parents recounting, through tears of laughter, the lessons they learned about the differences between Australian and American vocabulary. Some of these lessons they learned firsthand; others they learned through (or rather at the expense of) other visiting Americans.

For example, one American couple had been in Perth just a few days. The wife had come down with a bug of some sort and had stayed at the hotel. When asked where his wife was, the gentlemen forlornly replied that she was under the weather, so had to stay behind.

If you're from a present or former British Commonwealth country, you already see the problem here. If you're not, you're probably not aware that in those countries, "under the weather" means very, very drunk.

The American gentleman was a pastor.

Stay tuned for more -- and in the meantime, send me YOUR faux pas anecdotes!

1 comment:

Randy Gill said...

That American pastor was my father, Ernie Gill. We had just moved to Perth and mom was sick on our first Sunday. So my dad announced that mom was "under the weather" to the whole church. Since they didn't know us very well yet, they decided to keep their comments to themselves. It was several weeks before someone finally got up the nerve to ask my father about mom's drinking problem!