Sunday, April 19, 2009

say what is it it looks like you've seen a ghost

I sat in an Italian restaurant on Wellington Parade with some friends, some people I knew, and some people I didn't know, and ----- leaned across the table, and said:

"So, Tessa, are you Australian?"

And for a moment I couldn't answer. It was just a touch too perfect. It was almost scripted. I was waiting for a laugh and joke and revelation that ----- read my blog and was just messing with me, and I kept waiting, and it didn't come, so I took a touch too long to answer an emphasied affirmative.

Which was followed by:

"Oh, because you have a bit of an accent."

aldkfja;lskdjfa;lskdjfa;lskdjf;laskdjf. It had to be a joke, because if the first was too perfect, then this was far, far too perfect, and occurring before witnesses.

The conversation rolled away, but not before it was established that the particular accent I am (allegedly) sporting is American.

Where I'd get an American accent from, I don't know. I don't think spending a couple of weeks over there with friends who happen to have a wide variety of accents between them a couple of years ago is quite enough to change my vocal patterns entirely. That's three times in one month. I'm now self-conscious of and angry at my voice and don't want to speak any more.

Today is a giraffes using their heads like morning stars because they don't like each other and it's the only sort of fighting they're capable of sort of day.

Is eleven in the morning too early to start drinking?


  1., you pretty emphatically do NOT have anything even remotely resembling any variation of an American accent.

    'Course, you do stheriously exaggerate the Australian thing when you're here... hehe.

  2. It's that Melbourne accent. Very deceptive. I've been mistaken for a non-native English speaker several times because of it. And it somehow convinces many people that I am a native speaker of Yiddish. Impressively international is a Melbourne accent.

    Here, I call it a Melbourne accent. In Melbourne, I call it a Hawthorn accent and ask if the inquirer is from Moonee Ponds.

    The only other option is to assume bigotry, which is not acceptable in mixed dinner parties.

  3. Yer not a fuck'n bogan, thas' wos' fuck'n fool'n 'um.

  4. An American accent??? Not from what I can recall. Now my late better-half being a good ole southern gal from Tennessee - THAT was an American accent!

  5. Funny, I remember Nadine's uncle saying I didn't sound Australian - I sounded Irish. He said it was my 'a's. This person last night also said it was my 'a's. Apparently, my 'a's are fooked.

    Gillian, these were all Melbournians, so they shouldn't have noticed anything.

    I can do ocker better than American, heh.

  6. I guessed it was Melburnians. That's why I told you about my Hawthorn accent. Moving the the ACT helped a great deal, in fact, because under NSW guidelines I am a non-English speaking person, given I am not from a mainstream religion (atheists aren't automatically NESB, Jews are) so I just tell them they obviously belong in NSW. Or tell them that it's very sad that my London-origin family never learned to speak English over its 150 years in this country.

    In short, I get very creative and play with their minds. Doesn't stop me being really, really annoyed. It does mean I can sympathise with you.