Whose wind up is it anyway?

4 Apr

Wind someone up: To provoke, tease, deceive someone. (British)

When I first arrived in England, my single greatest surprise, regarding the English, was how much they enjoyed this pursuit of winding someone up. My own family loved calling me “American” because they knew it would be met with an onslaught of reasons why I was NOT American.

“It’s so easy to wind you up Maiya,” I was told, again and again. And I suppose it’s true.

I assumed it was a Canadian sensitivity, mainly because I had never heard of so many words to describe teasing someone before. There’s also “take the piss” and “take the mickey,” which both also mean to tease, mock, ridicule, etc.

But I had to take a hard look at myself when my Canadian friends arrived over a week ago. They took less than half the amount of jibing that I had experienced upon my arrival?

Why? What was their secret?

I watched them with my housemate, who repeatedly makes comments like, “Oh what’s this like in America—sorry Canada” (most of the time he doesn’t even add the “sorry” portion of that sentence). They smiled politely and moved onto something else. And that was the end of it! My housemate would then save his Canada-America insults for me, hurling them at someone who knew he could get a reaction from.

I’m not saying they didn’t get wound up at all. My one friend from back home did have to explain to my housemate that, “No, America and Canada are completely separate places.” But she only did it the once and ignored most of the other comments. And she very calmly stated this. As a fact.

So now I’ve found a solution to this winding up business. Evolve into a different person, with a thicker skin. Now, if someone can just tell me how to speed up the process…

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