I love lists. They keep things in order, they’re neat, and they make me more efficient (sense a theme there?). But most of them merely serve to illustrate the state of my mind at any given time.
Take this completely random example:
This will only make sense if you knew me in high school, or once I explained the back story. Back then, I was busy fighting with my raging hormones while also being short, shy and generally socially awkward. It meant that while no boy in school ever looked at me, I was still madly in love with most of them. At one point my friend and I realised that an awful lot of boys and famous people we fancied were called Thomas. In order to keep track, and in a fantastic move of blatantly objectifying them, we numbered the guys. We got to 13, I think. From then on, we just had to mention a number in order to swoon and write desperate love poems. It was ingenious; nobody would ever know what we were talking about. In retrospect, it is probably safe to say that nobody cared anyway. It’s been more than ten years since we left high school, but there are people in this world who will know exactly what I mean when I say, “Remember the agony I suffered over T8?” Oh, T8″¦
These days, I live by two slightly more mature lists:
Things To Do In England
This is a mix of generally agreed touristy bits, like seeing real live royalty and visiting Stonehenge, and things I personally think are so typically British that I need to do them. Here’s my tally so far:
- Played Bingo. Oh, the horror. It’s nothing like in the movies, where little old ladies get together for fun and games. There is one thing that modern-day Bingo Super Centres are not, and that’s Fun. Instead, after having paid a lot of money for the privilege, you are herded into a hall containing stressed women, plastic cups of pound coins and nifty little computers. You’re not sure how many women there are, because things are progressing very quickly. An animated but probably secretly suicidal man calls out numbers, as is to be suspected. BUT. He is doing it at such breakneck speed that you get stressed, sweaty and want to run away. There is no way you can win this game, because you: a) are sure to miss a number on your card, or b) have no time to look at your card long enough to determine if you might have won. Also, c) nobody told you what and how to call out, because Bingo is so ingrained in the northern English soul that everybody knows this secret. Everyone but you, the helpless foreigner. Then somebody else calls out, and you have not won. You are relieved. After an hour you stop listening to the suicidal man and spend the rest of the evening actively not playing Bingo because you are terrified of doing it all wrong. When the Bingo Super Centre closes for the day, you need a stiff drink, which you can’t afford anymore.
- Seen a real live Beatle. I did this twice, which is not bad considering the other two are dead.
- Watched cricket. This is where I win, because I have also played cricket and understood cricket. I get extra points for loving cricket to a silly degree.
- Had a pub lunch. I’ve done this several times now. It doesn’t get cheaper, and the food doesn’t get better, but it’s very picturesque.
- Get very drunk on cider. Not proud of it.
- Celebrate an epic Champions League win with the good people of Liverpool. This wasn’t on my list, and I’m not even a Liverpool fan, but it was a great night in town back in May 2005.
Still To Do
- See live royalty. Germans love royalty, so this is sure to earn me at least three appreciative nods back home.
- See Stonehenge. We are doing this in July, wahey. It will most likely be underwhelming.
- Make a fish pie. This shouldn’t be too hard, but then I’ve been telling myself that for years now, and it’s still on the list.
- Be on a pub quiz team. Why hasn’t this happened yet? I’d be great! I know geography!! Pick meeee!
The “to do” part isn’t all that long anymore, and I’ve been only half-joking when I said that once I’ve done it all, I’ll get out of here. I think it would be a great story to tell to my grandchildren if I left the country right after meeting the Queen. But then there’s the other list in my life, the
Things That I Would Miss About England
This is where it gets really random:
- Red brick terraces. I love looking at brick walls.
- Have I Got News For You. I mentioned it last week.
- Marmite. It’s love.
- The Times. It’s so infuriatingly old-fashioned and stuck-up, even though it likes to pretend it’s not. I see through you, old chap, and I still try to get more than seven things right in your crossword puzzle.
- Rhododendrons. There are not enough rhododendrons in Germany.
- Indian takeaways. It’s ridiculously difficult to find a good curry in Germany.
- Supermarkets that open on Sundays. Germany IS ridiculous.
- Free nursery places. It’s free! Free! Amazing.
- Ungrumpy people.
- Charity shops. Can you believe they don’t have them in Germany? Ridic”¦ you know.
The longer this list gets, the more likely I am to stay in England. It’s not looking so bad right now, if you completely disregard the weather. But we’ll get to that some other time.
What about you? See anything missing on my lists? Have you got your own? Do tell.