Sometimes I try to conceal that I am an anglophile for coolness purposes. Mostly I don't. Ever since Prince Charles and Diana married when I was a TEN YEAR OLD GIRL and about to move to England for awhile, I have been a goner. When Diana came along I dropped all previous girl crushes and was all, Laura Ingalls WHO? I thought I knew the culture, you know? I lecture my friends about how to prepare tea correctly and I read the BBC news and I am a proud alum of a primary school where I wore a school uniform (!). As a visiting college student I stopped wearing windbreakers so I could blend in and went for curries and learned about toasties and EVERYTHING. And seriously, history, rain, a monarchy, chocolate, and a national health care system? What else could one possibly want? I pretty much thought that I was really, basically, a British person trapped in an American body.
On my Netflix, I almost exclusively rent British television series. And when I say "almost exclusively" I mean "exclusively." I have gone a little nuts with it lately, especially since Bubba has woken up several nights in a row and listening to British television seems to soothe him back to sleep and make my own sleep deprivation a little more bearable (does this make me a bad mother?)
But I am here today to tell you that there is more to British culture than I ever knew. It slowly dawned on me after the umpteenth mystery show where someone visiting someone else in hospital ("in hospital" --see how culturally savvy I am?) brings grapes along. The first time I was all, oh, that detective brought grapes to his deputy who took a bullet for him, that was nice. The next time I was all, are they grapes in that bag the detective's secretary is bringing him? Then, THEN, when the lady who has been concealing her advanced lung cancer from everyone and collapses in the taxi and the detective goes to visit her and she says, where's my grapes, I started to wonder if there was a THEME going on here. If indeed I had stumbled upon a CUSTOM. Then when the mean and therefore dispensable detective who has been mauled by a crazed townsperson signals his return to life by asking his visiting co-detectives, why are you eating my grapes, I knew it was time for action.
So being of a sharp scientific mind (oh that? that's just Jeff howling with laughter in the next room) I figured I better take this one to the people. So I checked with both my friend Google and my British friend Rachel and have confirmed that yes, bringing grapes to someone in hospital is indeed a tradition. Aren't I clever? It only took seventeen or so cultural references, but I got it. I'm one step closer to peeling back the cultural layers of the onion of my spiritual home, to being really at the heart of things.
Just passing along the knowledge as I get it. I consider it my duty.