A police officer came round to my home for a chat yesterday. These things happen.
A very nice young man, bright-eyed and amiable.
At a random point, I asked him if he wanted a cup of tea, but then I suddenly thought and said:
“Oh! I suppose maybe you can’t. That would count as attempting to bribe a police officer…”
He said no, he didn’t want a cup of tea but… “No, offering a cup of tea would not really be bribery…
There was a slight pause.
“…but offering me a bar of chocolate might be.”
“Really?” I replied, surprised. “Why?”
“Well,” the nice young police officer said, “I think that would count as a gift, but a cup of tea would be just…”
He paused, not quite sure what the next words should be.
“…being British?” I suggested.
He smiled and shrugged.
Thinking about it afterwards, maybe I should have suggested: “…taking a drink.”
Rather than smiling, he might have laughed.
As I said in yesterday’s blog, English can sometimes – sometimes – be a subtle language.