22.8.09

Adventures in American Bashing

This afternoon I got into a heated conversation right in front of my apartment block with a young American medical student who exited our train at my normal metro stop.

During our train ride, said student was loudly lecturing two fellow train passengers about the glorious US health care system and openly bashing the NHS with totally inaccurate information. He was even stating half-truths about the American system, not just the NHS! One English woman tried to correct his inaccuracies (politely and quietly of course). He treated her like she was stupid and inferred that she didn't know any better because she hadn't lived in a 'capitalist system'. He blatantly stated that if Brits HAD lived in a country like the US, they'd realise how better it was than here in the UK (at the same time admitting he'd only been living here for a few weeks!). The nice English lady got off at the very next stop, and I'm pretty sure that wasn't where she had meant to go. :(

I was absolutely FURIOUS for the entire 15 minutes I had to listen to him go on. Passengers were going to the next train down to avoid him. And honestly, he wasn't a wacko by any means - he was just a cocky spoiled American rich kid trying to spread his abundant 'knowledge and wisdom' to the uninformed British. He basically was a living stereotype and it really upset me.

I told myself I wasn't going to say anything to unless he got off at my stop. I made a promise to myself that if he DID get off at my stop, I'd confront him. This was a bargain I made because I thought it was a safe bet I wouldn't have to say a word. I kept thinking, surely he won't get off at Regent Centre, why would he?!

Fuck. I totally forgot about ASDA. American students in Newcastle love Walmart's UK chain, so of course he was coming to my stop - it's the closest ASDA to where he lives. They sell refried beans and Kraft dinner there. It's an American student mecca. DAMMIT.

As soon as we exited the train, I pounced on him. I said 'you're American, aren't you?' to which he said 'Of course I am, I wouldn't be anything else!'. I asked if I could speak to him about the things he was saying on the train. I corrected his misinformation, told him I thought he should wait til he's lived here for longer and learned more about the NHS to judge it, gave him a 'as a fellow American, I feel I must tell you...' speech, etc. I think I totally freaked the poor kid out and made him feel pretty bad; however I just couldn't ignore him, I HAD to say something. He was visibly offending the British passengers with his nonsense and I don't think he had a clue until I told him so!

Anyway, I'm pretty sure he'll never get off at the Regent Centre stop to go to ASDA ever again for fear of running into that crazy Anglophile American beotch who lives across the street. I never saw someone cross the North Road so quickly before - he was dying to get away after I thanked him for listening to me.

Regardless, I feel good about confronting him, but I also feel a little bit like a bully as well. Watch out people, I think I'm turning into an American basher myself. Bah.

4 comments:

  1. Good for you! If he can dish it out then he needs to be able to take it.

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  2. No, I don't think you're turning into an American basher at all. It's just that it's blindly infuriating that people who have no experience of living in both countries bang on about things they know nothing about.

    Give me my NHS any day! I'm a bit worried at this point in time about the prospect of ever moving back to the States due to their healthcare status.

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  3. Well done you! It takes guts to say something instead of just blending into the background (Britground?) and walking away.

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  4. 1.) i didn't know you had a blog.
    2.) good for you for saying something. i only wish you had confronted him in front of everyone else on the train. :)

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