Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If the hat fits!

I still do it now - even after 6 months of being here. I say something that makes me stand out. People look at me like I'm an alien speaking in tongues. It happened in MacDonald's yesterday when I took the kids after our Walmart shop. There is a MacDonald's inside the supermarket! I asked for two happy meals - nuggets and chips and milk. The lights started flashing above my head and with big neon arrows pointing at me while silly 'eh eh' noises sounded. CHIPS???!!! Silly me - those are not fried hot potatoes here, they are fried cold potatoes in bags. I recovered quickly and corrected myself! FRIES!
All was well...for a moment. She then said 'Do you want sauce?'
'Oh Yes please' I said in my best Enid Blyton voice 'Tomato.'
There they went again - the lights, the sounds, the jeering, like some game show, in my head! 'You want hot sawce?' she said looking at me sideways like I was about to metamorph into something even weirder than I appeared to her already. Too late I realised! 'I mean Ketchup'.
The damage was done already but she nodded to show that she now understood and everyone calmed down... Except me! I wanted to rant: 'What the F**k to you think Ketchup is made from? Couldn't you make the connection? Ketchup is a sauce made out of tomatoes so if someone asks for tomato sauce - chances are they are asking for f**king ketchup!!!'.
She took my money and told me to have a nice day!
I ought to use this language barrier to my advantage. Hubby told me Americans don't use the word 'knob' to cause offence (or other similar words!).  I tried it out on Saturday at a gathering. I asked one of the men if he would be offended if I called him a knob. He smiled and said he wouldn't ...Either because he is one or because he doesn't know what it means?  I thought about this - like the tomato and ketchup connection - even if they dont connect knob to the male anatomty as the slur intends, being called a knob (as in door knob, knob of butter...etc) is never going to be a compliment.
I'm sure I would have felt better if I had called the MacDonnald's server a knob! ...but honestly... it is me that constantly feels stupid and strange in this strange land and if the hat fits I guess I should wear it! I feel I may as well have it written on my head - people stare at me like it is there already - they look curiously at me- trying to fathom out what I mean!!!

5 comments:

  1. I should'nt worry about it my darling, chips are chips and sauce is sauce in my book, As you know i am always saying the wrong things and i am not a stranger in a strange land!!!!

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  2. I'd just keep talking normal english. It must be fairly amusing watching them thinking "what the hell's she on about?"

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  3. Drives me mad cos i'm the one left feeling stupid for saying perfectly normal things! i love the nuances of language!!!
    I guess if I'm honest most people look at me and think 'what hte hell's she on about'! I like to think of it less as 'normal' english and more as PROPER english!!!
    I'm thinking of trying some cockney Rhyming Slang to really confuse them!!!

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