Invader Stu: The Englishman who spoke good English
It has finally happened. After all the years of waiting and hoping and wondering how I would respond it has finally happened, the one thing I have been waiting for all this time.
It all started when I spotted a couple walking towards me in the street, clutching a map, both sharing the same confused look upon their faces which suggested they were utterly and completely lost.
I already started to wonder if this could finally be the moment but I tried to push such thoughts aside and not hope for it too much. The disappointment would have been crushing.
Instead I waited as the space between us closed one step at a time. I tried to not look at them too much as we got closer and then… just as we were about to pass each other it happened...
"Excuse me… do you speak English?"
I almost fist pumped the air in triumph.
It was the lady who had asked the question I had been waiting all this time to hear. Her husband was still too busy gripping the map and looking at it intensely. I don’t think he was quite ready to admit that they were lost yet but I did not care about that.
All I cared about was that someone had finally asked me, an Englishman, if I spoke English. She had even said it very slowly, over pronouncing each word in her Yorkshire accent in the hope that "the foreigner" would understand.
I decided to play it cool. I had been waiting for this moment for a long time and had an equally long list of highly witty come backs prepared but I did not want to throw the moment away too quickly. There was still one other thing that could make it perfect.
After five minutes of giving directions to the wife and five minutes of the husband’s best "Honestly, I know where we are" impression we were about to part ways. For a moment I thought I had waited too long and missed my opportunity but then...
"Thank you. And can I just say... your English is very good."
I could have hugged her. I almost did.
"Thank you. I am English," I replied instead (number 234 on the highly witty come back list).
She looked embarrassed for a moment while we both chuckled about this revelation and the husband attempted his best "I was not listening but I just worked out where we are for myself" impression. I bid them farewell and skipped down the street...
Invader Stu is an accident prone Englishman who has been suffering from Dutch culture shock for the last ten years. Enjoy his stories, more of which can be found on Invading Holland.