Jane Winkworth

Awesome Americans! January 08th 2012

This year, my husband and I decided to spend Christmas at home quietly with our family. On Christmas Day we went to mass with our grand daughter who will be preparing for her first Holy Communion next year. Father Tom ( our gorgeous priest with film-star looks) had recruited a “guest speaker”. Mid-way through the mass, the children were all invited up to the crib for a sermon from said guest speaker; Father Brian. He was wonderful with the children and in his broad Irish accent, he asked the children,  “So, who is Hannah Montana then?”.  This was followed by, “and what is she always saying….?”. To which came the unanimous reply, “awesome!”. “So, what does awesome really mean then?” asked Father Brian and so it went on…..The message was received loud and clear from the priest that ‘awesome’ is a word we are supposed to reserve for true miracles…such as the birth of Our Lord. But, it got me thinking about all my American friends and their casual use of the word “awesome”!

I have spent the past ten years travelling backwards and forwards to Los Angeles. Having spent long periods of time there, I have made many friends over the years as well as starting my business London Sole there too. I have several employees and they all use this word to describe the most simple and basic of daily tasks. For example, “I am just going to fill the car with petrol” resulted in the following exclamation - “oh awesome!”. Handing my passport over at border control the counter clerk looked carefully at me and said “your accent is awesome”, whilst collecting my Iced frappacino with a double cream topping from Starbucks, I decided to add an order of a rocket and sun dried tomato panini to my order….this decision was met with, “oh that is so awesome ” from the assistant!  And so it goes on…..

I don’t know why and I am probably being a little unfair, but what is it with Americans? Their language can sometimes be so over the top in their enthusiasm for the most ordinary of situations? The other expression used by absolutely everyone in Los Angeles is ...“I’m so excited ” Although perhaps it’s better than the grumpy reception you get from some people here in the UK? One of my friends invited me to her house to have lunch and see her mother. “My mom can’t wait to see you - they are so excited! Mom ( yuck what’s with the mom, surely it’s mother or at the very least Mum?!) is dying to cook for you, she wants to know what you eat. They are so excited you are here…..it’s going to be awesome!”, she gushed.

On the appointed day, I arrived at my friend’s house, armed with gifts and greatly looking forward to bathing in the glorified love and adoration that I was expecting to be dished out from her mother (plus the delicious lunch I anticipated she would now be cooking). I rang the doorbell - twice, I could hear the distant barking of my friend’s angry French poodle, but no rush of feet to open the door and embrace me with hugs of the promised excitement.

When the door was finally opened by my lovely friend, I thought my senses had failed. There was no smell of cooking, no ‘mom’ rushing forward to welcome me? Instead, her mother barely glanced in my direction, engrossed in a family photograph album she was leafing through? There was no lovely lunch…..there was no conversation!

The rather dull mother finally uttered these words as I was leaving ” Nice to see you again, really awesome !!” Anyway, to sum up, I just wish my friend had said, ” I have my boring, dull mother visiting. Please can you come over and spend an hour with her to lighten the mood and give me a break?” Whilst it is lovely to be so excitable - it can be somewhat disappointing when reality strikes! ...Anyway, I am returning there soon. I ‘m so excited -  I can’t wait, it will be awesome!

Categories: My Week

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Charities Jane supports:

The Royal ballet school English National Ballet Starlight ACCA The Royal Marsden Havens Hospice