What is British for ‘Excuse Me’? Hint: You might be better off being telepathic


One could easily complain about the extortionate cost. The smells. The urine on the toilet floor and no loo roll. The lack of seats available to rest your weary body.  But note!! None of the above is what this niggly post is about*. So what am I on about? My commuting train to Leeds where some British folk have a non-verbal way of telling you to move.

Can I read these Brit minds? Am I  telepathic? No!! But, It would help because usually I get it wrong. I experience this on a regular basis on my train: There are no words uttered by my seat companion when they would like me to move when I am  in the way. The British native on the seat usually squirms,  shuffles their bum to and fro, and fiddles with their purse. If you are sitting in the aisle seat, you are expected to read these non verbal queues and then act.

One day I was PMS-ing and was blinkin’ tired of having to read minds. This guy could have easily just asked me to move, what am I supposed to read his mind? I know he wants to to get off at his stop but will it kill him to ask me politely to get out?? When the little shuffle dance started I looked him right in the eye and said in my little Yankee accent:

Is that squirming you are doing British speak for “Excuse me, can I get out please?”

Well,  he looked like I just told him I was The reincarnated Virgin Mary telling him I was pregnant with his child.  Thank god he just burst out laughing and said “Yes, I guess it is…. erm, excuse me!”. Case won… and he was lurvely.


* If you are not in the mood for an expat rant best get outta dodge!!