Double-decker bus and Big Ben, London, England


The other day, I was picking up various children from various schools to deposit them in various locations. I noticed Cranky waving to a freckle-faced boy, who smiled and waved back. Who is that?, I asked, trying to sound uninterested. Oh, he is the funniest ginger in our class. Huh. He’s not a redhead, he’s a ginger. Thank you, Harry Potter. Apparently, a new kind of British invasion is happening.

Do you watch PBS? Do you have an odd fascination with Robert Pattinson or likelier still, Tom Hardy? Do you read the Herald-Tribune online? When you’re on the highway, are you headed 'downton?' Suddenly, Cranky’s friend isn’t rude, she’s cheeky. My college-aged babysitter informed me she spent last weekend getting chatted up by guys at a fraternity party. What is happening?

We all knew 'that girl'--junior year of college, who had just returned from a semester abroad in London. She had the vaguest whisper of an accent (picture Madonna circa 1990). She would say as we were climbing the four flights of stairs to our dorm room, I can’t believe there’s no lift to our flat. Or after class, Maybe tonight we should go for an American beer. And you wanted to punch her in the face--and you may or may not have shouted after one too many ‘American beers,’ You’re not British! I mean, the kid who just got back from Munich isn’t pronouncing his 'W' like 'V's and saying ‘uber’ all the time. Jeez.

So what’s different now? Sure, there’s Downton Abbey and The Tudors, but I think there is more at work here. First of all, teenagers these days  have the attention span of a rabid flea. Secondly, words get old fast, especially slang. The expiration date--oh, I’m sorry, the 'sell-by' date of a trendy word--is basically the minute the parents get hold of it. So the second I say something is phat, it’s over. I get the eye-roll and the What is it, 2008? look. And just like that, the word is gone. Nobody is psyched for the movie, they’re keen on it. When Cranky is feeling helpful, she does the washing up.

Well, at least I have my answer. If I want my kids to stop sounding like they are freshmen at Hogwarts, I need to get on the double-decker bus and chime in. Bob’s your uncle. I made you blokes bangers and mash. Although, I need to think this through. Right now, this Anglophilia is the devil I know, could something worse be waiting in the wings? Bollocks.

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