I've never lived in a city before.
I'm a country boy. Well. A small town boy, really.
I am not a roving rambler of the open fields and moors - I couldn't tell you the difference between St. John's Wort and Lady's Finger, but in the UK at least I can tell you when to keep an eye out for cow pats, which berries are poisonous, and whether you're trapped in a field with a bull (bad news) or a bullock (not bad news, but very, very funny for the purposes of winding people up).
It's glaringly obvious that moving to New York will involve a shedload of adaptation on my part.
I am going to be starting married life, life in America and life in what you'll have to excuse me calling 'The Big City' - all at once.
I can't wait.
The multiple daily calls, the emails and chat between Krissa and I; the usual laughing and joking conversations have moved over to make room for more details about flights and wedding days, rings and honeymoon plans. While I cannot wait to be with her, live with her - start our lives together, I know the other changes may not be all plain sailing.
I am bracing myself and at the same time doing my best to prepare.
What's it going to be like?
Having cruised through some of the works of Bill Bryson over my two weeks at home, Made in America made me realise that whilst the USA has had a great influence on language, city life itself has as well - from its very earliest times.
Look to the Greeks; their city-states and politics. In fact the words 'politics' and 'politician' have their roots in the Greek 'Polis', which means city.
Polis moves to the Greek polites - 'citizen' (citizen is itself another word rooted in a rather tortuous etymological route from the French 'cite') and from there we gain a swathe of poli- rooted words in current English and Greco-Latin based languages.
The word I'm getting at here, sorry for the detour, is polite.
After a brief but painstaking burst of research (I even looked in a real book) I have found something unexpected; there is nothing to indicate that polite has anything to do with suitable or civilised city behaviour.
This may not come as much of a surprise to some people.
Polite comes from, can you believe this, a Latin verb for 'to polish or make smooth'. This makes sense I suppose...although I have my doubts over any etymological expedition which is satisfied to call a halt at the gates of Ancient Rome when they're spoiled for choice with all the poli- words bandying around on the other side of the Adriatic.
Especially when I was relying on them for the theme of this post.
Okay. So...let's assume that polite comes, as I thought it would, from the Ancient Greek.
This means I am asking you to conveniently forget all of the interesting and dubiously useful information above, and just follow me down the road to where I'm heading with all of this. Don't bemoan me looking all that stuff up and giving it to you. It's unlikely you and I will ever play Trivial Pursuit against each other, and this is just the kind of stuff which crops up in the yellow and brown questions.
So we've both gotten something out of this.
Okay. In our convenient, board-game advantage-gaining little world, polite means behaviour suitable for living in a city and on this level at least I should be okay.
I can, when I want, be scrupulously polite. The British as a whole have a reputation for falling over each other to be polite. Everyone knows that, surely?
In a city where courtesy may not necessarily be at the forefront of the minds of those I come into contact with, I can be polite (but don't have to), and where everyone, the second they hear me open my mouth and start with, "Excuse me...?" will assume me to be some Hugh-Grant-inspired foppish-haired Englishman, I can be out of a store and five minutes down the road before anyone realises that I have in fact been breathtakingly rude.
In New York five minutes buys you the length of a block and a turned corner, and that's all I need.