I recently interviewed my friend Ben on his upcoming trip to America and American culture over a couple of drinks at the pub. Before I write about the discussion, let me properly introduce the child in question.
Ben is a British boy (I presume) who would rather listen to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen then to listen to anything with any musical substance. Ben likes to shamelessly drink blue drinks and won’t ever go near a beer. Ben can kick my ass at any video game that ever existed. Ben does not know how to cook unless the recipe states; “pierce lid and then microwave on full for 2 minutes”, and if it tells him to stir halfway through he probably wouldn’t bother. Ben is not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed. Ben tries to speed drink quicker than everybody else but never wins. Once I made Ben cry with a spicy pork pasta.
There are a lot of aspects of Ben’s personality that drive me insane, but he has a heart of gold and a positive, iridescent attitude that is hard not to fall in love with. We have stayed in contact since college and occasionally, when I’m in the country, we might have a few drinks. Wednesday was one of those evenings, and as Ben is not very well cultured (yet) or travelled (yet), I decided to force some trivia about American culture and slang on his unsuspecting and slightly tipsy mind for a bit of a giggle, and to interview him about travelling. I have condensed down the ten minute conversation to include the best bits below.
[“The Giddy Bridge”, London Road, Southampton, 21/09/16 ]
Alright, I’m sat here with my friend Ben at the Weatherspoons on London road and we are going to have a chat about American culture and his upcoming travels. Hi ben, how are you?
“‘Sup?”? The ceiling is up Ben, the ceiling is up.
It doesn’t look too clean either. Alright so I’ve got a bunch of questions I’m just gonna ask you in turn and I just want you to respond in the best way you can. So first of all, if you were an item of fruit, what would you be?
And why would you be a banana?
Do I really need to say why?
I think you should. I want to know in as much detail as possible why you would be a banana.
Well, like a banana, I…
Okay, question two, when was the last time you travelled abroad?
Ooh, the last time I travelled abroad… that was a while ago actually. I think… I think the last time I went abroad was when I went to New York with my college.
Okay, so you went with your friends from college – like a class trip?
Yeah it was a… it was an art trip so I went with my class and some friends who were in my class as well.
What did you do whilst you were over there?
We had to do a lot of art museums that was a bit of a snorefest, but we also got free time to go to Time Square and to just piss around and do what we want-
-Just be tourists?
Yeah be tourists.
Cool, okay. Umm. Have you seen my raptor?
Errr no but I would like to.
So tell me about your impending trip to America, like where exactly are you going and what you planning to do?
So we are going quite soon. We are going to L.A first; we are staying there for like five nights. We got a place… we got an apartment in Hollywood which is really sweet. Then we’re going to San Diego en route to Vegas and then staying there for a couple of nights, and then going to the Grand Canyon on the way back. And yeah, just explore the scenery.
Cool. Are you planning on partaking in the classic British pastime of “getting shitfaced”?
Of course. I really want to get shitfaced in another country so I’ll be able to tick that off my bucket list.
Do you feel that getting shitfaced in America will be different to getting shitfaced in England?
I feel it will, but it probably won’t be.
Okay cool, I’ll be excited to find out more about that in the follow up interview. What are you most excited about your trip?
Ooh, good question. I don’t know, just the whole experience in general really. Just to be in places I’ve never been to before; just to say I’ve been somewhere, (to) say I’ve done something.
Will you be deffecating in any locations of questionable hygiene?
Hopefully not as we are not camping anywhere or anything. The places we are staying I assume have working toilets, so we’ll just be deffecating in a foreign toilet.
Did you know that the water in the toilets fills all the way up in America? Like in England there’s a little bit of water in the bottom, but in America it goes all the way up so when you take a dump you sometimes get some splash back.I hate when it splashes my ass! [laughs] If there’s one thing I hate most in the world it’s when I make poopy and water splashes on my bum flaps.
What do you think about the American accent?
… I think it’s great… That’s my attempt at an American accent. [laughs] Umm, yes, it’s… different.
So I have some American phrases and slang for you to translate so let’s see how you do, I’m going to start of real easy and then get a little bit more diverse as we go along. So first of all, aluminum.
No Ben, how would you say it in England?
Aluminum? [Tom laughs at Ben struggling to pronounce the word] No aluminium! Ali… Alimuin… Aluminium.
Yeah a zucchini.
Zucchini? I don’t know the name. Is that a trick question?
In English, well in England, we would call it a courgette.
Oh. Yeah I didn’t realise that.
Do you know what a capsicum is?
Never heard of that.
Like a red pepper or a bell pepper.
Yeah I never knew that.
Yes. What is an eggplant? Describe an eggplant.
It’s like a little brown thing with leaves coming out. [Tom laughing] At least that’s what cartoons tell me.
An eggplant is an aubergine. What is a sidewalk?
Well done you got that one. This one’s a bit different; Jonesing. If you’re “jonesing” somebody else…
Yeah like if you’re jonesing somebody else, what are you doing?
Fucking them. [Tom laughing] No idea.
It means like you’re envious of them. Like “keeping up with the Jones’”. Have you heard of that phrase?
Alright okay. Umm. If I was “turnt up” – T.U.R.N.T… what would I be?
Umm. Pissed off?
No. It’s like er, we’re gonna go get Turnt up, we’re gonna go get drunk kinda thing. We’re gonna get crazy… it’s quite a broad phrase but yeah.
I’ll have to use that when I go to America. Let’s get turnt up!
Yeah let’s get turnt up! Do you know what a badonk is?
Yeah! So what’s a badinkadink?
No. So you get a badonk which is an ass. You’ve also got a badunkadunk and a badinkadink.
Oh. Oh I get it now! Badunkadunk is a massive ass and badinkadink is a small one?
Whey! You got one!
If I was “going dutch” what would I be doing?
I’ve heard that before. Dutch and double dutch. Umm. Trouble; getting into trouble.
Going dutch is paying for your own bill. I want to have five guys in my mouth tonight.
[confidently] That’s a restaurant chain.
Owh you knew that!
Yeah I went to the British one the other day. You’re not going to catch me out with that!
Awhh! I thought your answer would be more hilarious. If somebody “bought the farm”, what would they have done?
… Bought a shitload of drinks?
It means they died Ben. It means they died.
Well someone’s getting drinks.
You’re “shooting the breeze”. What are you doing?
Taking a piss. [Tom laughing] Is that not right?
No! It’s like partaking in idle conversation.
And last but not least. What do I mean if I say that I’m going to bounce.
I’m gonna move! I’m gonna roll.
Yeah, to move, like you’re gonna leave. Right so, another question on American culture; what way do you look when you’re crossing the street?
… Both ways? To the left? No, yeah, left…
The correct answer is what the fuck are you doing with your feet? Get in the fucking car!
Can you touch your toes without bending your knees?
What’s the secret because I’ve been meaning to figure this out my entire life and I just can’t do it.
Umm. It depends how short you are I suppose.
In which department?
All of them!
Have you any more planned travels in the future or is it just America so far?
Yes, I’m going to Paris… Disneyland Paris in February.
And who are you going to go with?
And how long are you going to go for?
What are you going to do over there?
Go on all of the rides and probably, hopefully, not throw up.
Are you planning on getting “shitfaced” there as well?
The French tend to drink wine. Umm, good luck with that.
[in a poorly executed “Roger from American Dad” accent] I like wiiiiine
Will you allow me to interrogate you after your trip? There may be cookies involved.
Well of course good sir!
Sweet. Cheers. Thanks so much for helping me out.
Hopefully this information will keep my friend Ben out of some awkward situations in America. I can really imagine somebody telling him how they’re “jonesing that badinkadink over there” and Ben building up some graphic mental images of violent buggery, or somebody talking about “shooting the breeze” and Ben wondering why they’re peeing in their underpants, although it’s much more likely he’s already forgotten all of this information due to a spontaneous abundance of WKD blue.
I wish Ben and his friends the best of luck on their upcoming trip and can’t wait to hear all the stories they tell me about getting shitfaced in distant lands.