Learning American

Rita Byrne Tull, who came to the United States from England many years ago, quips that her "accent must be hovering somewhere in the mid-Atlantic." She divulges the embarrassing difficulties of learning the intracies of the American dialect:

“Look,” I exclaimed in a loud, excited voice, “I found this beautiful silver rubber in the gutter and it’s hardly been used!”  My boyfriend’s mouth hung open with an expression of amazed incredulity.  He tried to speak but just stuttering laughter came out.  Around me I heard stifled giggles and realized everyone in the vicinity was staring at me.  Once again I had that sinking feeling that I must have said something wrong, but I had no idea what.  We walked on and when he regained his composure my boyfriend explained.  In America the piece of rubber used to rub out pencil marks is called an “eraser.”  A “rubber” is a condom.  You might well expect to see a condom in a gutter.  I had just announced to everyone within earshot that I was thrilled to find a “hardly used” condom!