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Different Priorities?

On the recommendation of a reader list online that I browse through, I picked up a book called Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behavior, by Kate Fox - an anthropological view of the strange and exotic culture of England. Instead of spending time in remote Burundi or the Amazon rainforest, Kate Fox spends time cutting lines and watching pub behavior in her native country, and the result is an absolutely fascinating, funny, irreverent look at why the English are so English and why everyone else is so not.

I know that Scots would bristle at being lumped together with the 'English', but some cultural behaviors cross political lines, apparently.

Please form a line....

Queueing, for example. There are endless jokes about how the English line up for thing automatically, even if there really isn't a line, and the author describes the phenomenon of the "queue of one" - English people don't loll about at bus stops, or pace around the curb while waiting to cross, oh, no,. They will stand lined up with the sign, facing the road, looking for all the world like they are the first person in the queue. Even if it's only them. I had to laugh while reading this, because it's one of the things I noticed over and over in Ireland and in Scotland- people standing with an obvious purpose waiting for things, but with absolutely nothing around them.

Toast: Crisp or hot? Pick one.

And this bit on Toast, which had both of us laughing -- this is exactly our experience:

"...Toast is a breakfast staple, and an all-purpose, anytime comfort food. What tea alone does not cure, tea and toast surely will. The 'toast rack' is a peculiarly English object. My father, who lives in America and ha become somewhat American in his tastes and habits, calls it a 'toast cooler' and claims that its sole function is to ensure that one's toast gets stone cold as quickly as possible. English supporters of the toast rack would argue that it keeps the toast dry and crisp, that separating the slices of toast and standing them upright stops them becoming soggy, which is what happens to American toast, served piled up hugger-mugger in a humid, perspiring stack on the plate, sometimes even wrapped in a napkin to retain yet more moisture. The English would rather have their toast cool and dry than warm and damp. American toast lacks reserve and dignity; it is too sweaty and indiscreet and emotional."

Sweaty toast? Well, that explains our experiences with the metal 'toast coolers' (which the Adorable Husband call them, too).