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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Friday on my mind

Today I experienced an element of culture shock that I had first experienced at about the same time when I first moved to America. The best way to explain this is to tell you what happened this time.

For the past several weeks I've been expecting the delivery of the 114 cardboard boxes and packages with the worldly possessions my wife and I had in New York. The shipment arrived in England a couple of weeks ago and cleared customs soon after that. Earlier this week I received a telephone call from the UK shipping agent to tell me that my stuff would be delivered next Friday. I was asked to call on Thursday to confirm the delivery time.

Today being Thursday I called to see about tomorrow's delivery time, but I was informed by a slightly confused clerk that the delivery was not scheduled for this week but for next week. Whereas in American-English "next Friday" means the next Friday after today, in British-English "next Friday" means next week's Friday.

It took me a while to get used to this difference when I first moved across the Atlantic. So adjusting back to the meaning structure I lived with before 1994 is easier said than done.

Perhaps this is just a personal misreading of the meaning of "next Friday" since I am not a native speaker of the English language...not even the Anglo-Maltese variation. It could be just a simple misunderstanding between me and the shipping company employee who originally communicated the delivery date to me. Whatever it is all I really know now is that the delivery will not happen before next week. And so back to the Zen life we go.

Blogger Owen Cutajar said...

keke .. I've fallen for that one a couple of times !! 

10:44 PM, November 11, 2004

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