Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thing 174 Help and Old Lady Across a Street

Ya, I'm losing track of the number of times I've put some very misleading pictures on the internet which make this Project seem more badass than it is. But this one has to be the Daddy of the lot... How much do you wish you knew this old lady? I'm voting her for the next Die Hard movie. To hell with Bruce Willis...

This Thing is an American-ism. To all the Americans (there's still like twenty people reading in Minnesota apparently), where does the concept of helping old ladies across the road come from? How many old ladies need help crossing roads? Is there some kind of epidemic in American culture which causes old ladies to flood to street crossings, lemmings style, and stroll out into traffic?

It's the American television shows' ultimate expression of a nice guy. If he helps old ladies cross the street, then he's got to be a loving person. It's a sign of his character. It doesn't seem to happen in Ireland all that often, either because we're all assholes, roads are easier to cross, or our old ladies just don't require the help.

It's the last one. I think.

So I decided on this one being added to the list, because I've been americanised. It's when you watch so many episodes of Friends, Two and a Half Men, Simpsons, Futurama, etc etc that you start saying vacation instead of holiday. You say jelly instead of jam. You get where I'm going with this. Effectively you pick up mannerisms that have no place in Irish culture. It's a process also known as Jedwardification. I'm not an advanced case, but I actually thought for a while that this would be a nice thing to do. A gentlemanly thing to do. I never once thought it would be redundant or completely awkward. No. This is an early symptom of Jedwardification.

I'm acting now to stem the tide. But I've digressed... again.

So, top of Threadneedle Road in Galway (it's a real place, it just sounds like I've made it up), and I'm first in the queue in traffic lights. The nice old lady (nothing like the picture - no gun for starters) starts to make her way across the road, but she half drops a bag with some shopping... Now's my chance. I dodge out of my car, and stroll over. Smiling as widely as I can, because I don't want her to think I'm robbing her.

Me: Can I help you with those?
Her: No. I'm okay.
Me: No, please, let me help.
Her: (Awkward, embarrassed) Okay then. Thank you.

I took the bags from her. And walked the ten or so seconds it took to reach the other side of the road.

Now what do I do?

Me: Em... eh... Have you far to go?
Her: No. I live just there (pointing about ten feet down the road).
Me: Okay.

Awkward silence.

Me: Goodbye then.
Her: Bye.

So apparently, old ladies in Ireland just don't need help crossing streets since most of the streets are about ten feet wide, at the most, and we have ample time from the green man to get across. Effectively this makes me look like a well meaning tool.

And the guy in the car behind gave me a blast of his car horn for good measure.

Morto for myself.


  1. You listed americanisms you dont really do. Calling your trousers "pants", now thats frankly moronic.

  2. "Pants" is a perfectly cromulent word for trousers. It is short for "pantaloons" an olde worlde word for trousers.

    I reckon what's truly moronic is calling underpants "pants". Underpants are what you wear under your pants.

  3. I used to live up a Hill in Cork and I once helped an old lady up it. Old Ladies need help up hills in Cork. Waste of a thing!

    - The Walker