Readjustment to a culture I’m not always comfortable with:
Yesterday I went to the grocery store with my grandmother, and as we entered the building, I realized that I needed to -er, “powder my nose,” as they say. I started searching the store but couldn’t find a restroom anywhere, so I walked up to the barista at the cafe at the front of the store and decided to ask him.
Emily: Excuse me, sir?
Barista: Yes, can I help you?
Emily: Yes, well, I was wondering if you could tell me where the – erm…”
It was on the tip of my tongue to ask, “Where’s the loo?” and even though I’m sure this man would have understood me – he was, after all, a barista, and aren’t all baristas supposed to be hip and cultured by default? Or has the entire coffee subculture been leading me on? And why do I think “loo” would be a sign of culture and sophistication in America? It’s just another word for toilet – oh, wait, sorry, rant over; back to my original topic – even though I’m sure this man would have understood me, I hesitated to use it because it is not an American term.
So I started again:
Emily: Where’s the restroom?
The barista pointed me in the right direction, and I made my way over. The restroom was empty. I stared at my reflection in the mirror and wondered,
“Was I really in London just six days ago?”
It feels like a dream, the type that you can just barely remember, and the harder you try to hold on to it, the quicker it disappears from your consciousness.
I could have cried right there in the public restroom.
I miss London. I feel like I’m in mourning.
From now on, I’m saying “loo,” and if the Americans think I’m odd, then so be it.
Note: As I was editing this, my grandmother just asked if I’d like a cuppa. She’s using the tea I bought her in London. I feel a little better now.