Spend any extended amount of time in Britain while paying moderate attention to the news and you will begin to hear lots of talk about “schemes.” Many of these are government or business related, ie: a government scheme to encourage homeowners to install solar panels on their houses, a “benefits scheme” for the unemployed, a loan guarantee scheme for the car industry, or a home scheme to help OAPs downsize. (What’s an OAP, you ask? Oh, this is delightful and I am so looking forward to being called an OAP: OAP stands for “Old Age Pensioner”–in otherwords, a retired person who collects a pension. I do believe I prefer “retiree.”)
So my husband came home from work last week and began telling me about a work benefits scheme allowing employees of his company to lease a car for a very reasonable price. As he was telling me what was included in the scheme, I simply had to ask, “You do realize that in America, a ‘scheme’ refers to something nefarious?”
He laughed and amended his terminology to “car leasing plan” but asked for some leniency towards the word scheme. I was unable to give him any; “Scheme,” I stated, “is just … no, no, no … wrong.”
Scheme is not the only British terminology I can’t quite get behind. There’s the use of the word “sat,” which bothers me greatly. You’ll see, or hear, “I was sat in the doctor’s office” or “As I am sat here at my desk”–from professional writers, no less! “I am sat“? No, no, please! “I am sitting.” It’s “I am sitting,” people!
Another term they use is “lounge” instead of “living room.” Not so awful, really, but I can’t help but hear the word lounge and think of something out of the 1970s, perhaps a disco ball, orange shag carpeting and a man wearing polyester prints and a shirt unbuttoned far too low.
Actually, come to think of it, perhaps the 1970s were a nefarious scheme against taste.