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anna

It's all a lot of oysters but no clams

by anna at 07:49 AM on March 05, 2004

I’m always having these strange conversations with strangers. Yesterday I was at Total Wine. The cashier rings up my purchase and lilts, “That’ll be $6.26, sir.” (hear: suh) I detect some sort of accent.

Me: “Are you from Australia?”
Her: “No. Care to guess again?” (hear: a gain)
Me: “Well, I don’t recognize you from Lord of the Rings so it can’t be New Zealand. Must be England.”
Her: “Yes, that’s right.”
Me: “I’ve always wanted to go there. But isn’t the food horrible? I mean, you hardly ever see an English restaurant. There’s way more Thai places.”
Her: *wrinkles her nose* “Act-ually it isn’t half bad. (hear: hoff bod) The reason you don’t see more English restaurants is because they’re American restaurants. Roasts and such, home cooking.”
Me: “Doesn’t it rain all the time?”
Her: *starts to get a tad defensive* We get quite a lot (hear: lawt) of rain in London. But at least it isn’t crawling (hear: crueling) with... pros-tit-utes like Thailand. You’ll catch the AIDS there.”
Me: “The AIDS?”
Her: (matter-of-factly) “From the pros-tit-utes, you know.”
Me: "No I wouldn't know."

Conversing with Brits usually makes me feel inferior, like some unrefined geek. This wasn’t one of those times.

comments (14)

"you'll catch the aids"? that's freakin' hilarious. how old was this person? and how were her teeth?

by JC at March 5, 2004 11:34 AM


I'd say 27, nice teeth. She said that like a grandma warning you that you'd catch a cold from sitting in drafty rooms.

by anna at March 5, 2004 6:26 PM


I cringed reading this, because one of my coworkers at the store has an accent sort of like this (she's Scottish). But she's neither ignorant nor supercilious. Aren't we still such the insecure colonists, that we're so easily impressed by accents from the Empire?

Although... yesterday she said one of our new vases was "a bit naff" and I thought it was hilarious. Where's Lajoie? I want to hear what he thinks.

by jean at March 5, 2004 10:45 PM


I should add that I'm one of the bigger perps of Anglophilia around...

by jean at March 5, 2004 10:47 PM


I'm british. I live in america. I had a job in retail. I had a million different people have the very same conversation you just had (not verbatim).

It gets very dull very quickly. Usually i walk away from conversing with americans feeling like a fucking genius.

As for things being "naff". I'd rather an assortment of phrases than saying things are just "shit" or "fucking shit".

You know, what with you your sort being all about originality.

by Whostolemyhanky? at March 6, 2004 12:47 AM


I'm british. I live in america. I had a job in retail. I had a million different people have the very same conversation you just had (not verbatim).

It gets very dull very quickly. Usually i walk away from conversing with americans feeling like a fucking genius.

As for things being "naff". I'd rather an assortment of phrases than saying things are just "shit" or "fucking shit".

You know, what with you your sort being all about originality.

by Whostolemyhanky at March 6, 2004 12:48 AM


You've gotta love that screen name. And I am feeling inferior just reading your choice of words.

So maybe there is something to the insecure colonist thing.

The 1st Brit I ever knew was Francesca. She was a lovely gal who moved into my complex. All the guys lusted after her. That accent!!! We'd lurk outside her apartment and wait for her to come out. Then we caught her practicing her array of facial expressions in a mirror. We might as well have seen her taking a steamy dump or masturbating with a dildo.

by anna at March 6, 2004 8:32 AM


Lately the recent comments button is an oxymoron. Though I note that MG's 2001 piece "live (nude) girls" is still going strong with 109 comments and counting. Hmmm...

by anna at March 8, 2004 6:55 PM


Adding "the" before an illness is a very common Eastend dialect - basically short for "a case of the . . . " It makes more sense with measles and such that are actually curable, but it's not all together unusual. Just as Americans will say "going to THE Hospital" while Brits just say "going to hospital."
It's funny the stereotypes people get. In England there was a huge amount of news about AIDS and Thailand. Probably because more English travel there per capita than Americans, and prostitution is legal both places. But of course that doesn't mean you'll get HIV if you go there. Just like all English food isn't horrible and it doesn't rain all that much as people think.
Well, OK, a lot of English food is rather dodgy. She's right, some is roast or chicken or what we call "American food." Then you have things like cheese and sausages and other pub foods which don't really translate into a restaurant. And I suppose fish and chips when you get down to it. But mainly, it's because Britain used to fly it's flag over half the world, they don't need a lot of their own food. I think more curry is eaten in the UK than India. As well as fantastic Italian food, Greek Food, Middle-Eastern, Jewish Deli, French, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, etc.

by Charles at March 9, 2004 4:12 PM


It's funny you mention fish n' chips. I said that to her after the roast remark. She just kind of scowled at that. Gues she's not too keen on it.

by anna at March 10, 2004 7:54 AM


Anna, never feel inferior to the British. We won, remember? Seriously, the misconception that an accent equals intelligence is ridiculous. I know quite a few people with english accents that are about as smart as a box of hammers. I think Americans tend to be more blunt and to the point than most other peoples and this trait has earned us the "Ignorant Ugly American" mantra. I think we like to say things without a lot of beating around the bush and leaving things to others interpretation.

by Ezy at March 10, 2004 1:12 PM


Anna, I've been meaning to ask where the title of this post comes from... I remember mentioning here once how I always mis-sing the Counting Crows lyrics ("Its all a lot of oysters but no pearls") as this. Do you do the same, or are you just remembring what I said?

by mg at March 11, 2004 2:02 PM


It's a little inside joke between you and me. I know what the actual lyric is, "all a lot of oysters but no pearls."

by anna at March 11, 2004 7:22 PM


ok i'm gay

by bonone at May 19, 2004 5:25 AM



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