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!!!


  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!!!!

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

  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!!!