I will admit to suffering from writers block this afternoon, the one chance I have of getting a blog post written this weekend. I want to write something but even as I type, struggle to find a topic.
I started this blog post a while back but got no further than the title, the main reason being that it likely won’t have much meaningful content.
To help me flesh out my blog post, there is actually a short backstory to it.
I was camping with a small group of people I had not long met, including some Americans. One evening, the Americans said they were going to have “a beer” after dinner. Drinking beer around a camp fire is one of the more enjoyable parts of camping for me, so I was looking forward to the evening when I would be joined by a bigger group of people.
I cannot accuse this particular group of Americans of doing anything other than they said they were going to do, however else I may have interpreted it. They have one beer and prepared to head back to the tent for the evening. I even questioned why they were going so soon, saying I thought they were planning to have a drink around the campfire. There answer was simple, they’d had a drink like they said they would.
A little stunned, I didn’t know what to say other than to silently acknowledge that my interpretation was actually very different to their interpretation and the literal meaning of “a drink”. In my social circles, “a drink” in nearly every situation means more than a drink, often until time, money or another reason brings things to an end.
Have we Brits lost the literal definition of “a drink”? I think so, but of course I can only speak as I find and my social circles may in fact be in the minority. The same may be true of this particular group of Americans I was travelling with; they may be in the minority and “a drink” actually has the same non-literal meaning to the people of America as it does to the people of Britain.
Regardless, it was one of those seemingly insignificant events that reminded me just how different seemingly similar cultures can be. How assumptions across cultures, in particular those with more in common, can cause confusion, even the potential to offend. It also reminded me just how exciting being immersed in something unfamiliar can be, how living by different unwritten rules, even for a short period of time, can really add to an extra dimension to a trip.
I’m quite impressed I stretched this blog post to around 450 words.