Lessons for visiting ex-patriates, No.2: accents are your frenemy

This title is directly opposed to the first number in this series, which, as Electric Dragon pointed out, was written for people who USED to be Patriots but now are not, since thats what ex-patriots would mean. Frankly, as he says, after the England game on Sunday, that suddenly referred to a whole swathe of people who suddenly were, as they say, not singing any more. Or not having stupid flags on their stupid vans anymore, as the modern equivalent might be. I dont know. I dont live here any more.

Warning, returning Britishist-Living-Abroad: In WhereverYouLive, you are almost certainly permitted to ask stupid questions about how things work because your accent sounds different, so youre not expected to know the intricacies of the multi-tier inter-linkysystemed super-privatised transit system.

If you are, picking a very random example out of the air, a British person who lives in San Francisco, you will be very used to people in the service industry being gentle with you (while/and/or trying to fleece you) because as much as you feel local, your accent marks you out as a tourist. They wont mind if you ask a few silly questions about where youre supposed to stick your card or what the deal with ordering coffee is in this particular establishment.

When you have a British accent and look British and are in Britain, you have NO excuse. Ask questions about how something works, where the money goes, what order you do things in, and people get thrown. And without starting a whole conversation about where youve been living for the last two years and why youve not been back to keep up to date on the precise etiquette and system back here – and youre CLEARLY not going to want to engage in that conversation, because you are, as aforementioned, British – you just end up looking like a moron.

Trick? Pretend to be Californian. Works like a charm.

So warning, fellow-people-abroaders, unless you can adopt a very good impression of the accent youve been living with all this time away when talking to strange shop-keepers and service-providers with the same accent as your own, expect to be treated like the remedial national failure these people perceive you to be.
Because remember: if someones making you feel like that? You probably deserve it.
Welcome back to the UK.