today’s train of thought

I should be talking about London, as that is the raison d’etre for this blog. But too bad I can’t think of anything to say about it today- oh wait, I will say this about the Cockney accent: it’s awesome (has its own rhyming slang!) and indecipherable. I don’t want to presume to be an expert and I am too lazy to consult the internets, but I think a Cockney accent has something to do with where one grows up and how not-hard they tried to lose it. A true one, I have been told by a taxi driver, can only be attributed to a person born “within the sound of the Bow Bells”- which is some church in the City of London. This means it’s near my office, and this means it’s also more historically important than currently accurate as the whole area is now gentrified/corporate-y (I can make up words). The accent has now migrated to East London and it’s what I associate every Guy Ritchie movie with. Which is why I watch them all with subtitles.

So our office Christmas party is Friday. There is no attempt btw to call it a holiday party. You have to go with the flow in merry old England. Actually it’s the non-lawyers party so really the paean party. I said to Bryan, I don’t want to go to this party- it’s all support staff, ugh. I am such a snob. And he says: You LOVE support staff, you always get along with them best. I was like, okay true, when I was in the states and office services guys were always trying to get their rap groups off the ground and wanted to run their demos by me. Because I look like someone who is well-connected with Def Jam. But here in England it is different, the people… “the people” of the support staff are not trying to send me myspace links with 30 flashing emoticons or telling me about the diamond earrings that got their babygirl for Christmas. No, here the working class look like every other white British person with that lame spiky haircut like Jamie Oliver, but more important, I DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM WHEN THEY SPEAK. I can’t understand Cockney. Incidentally, my taxi driver, after I asked him to repeat himself 32 times, informed me Jamie Oliver is a “Mockney”- because it’s cool to have that accent I guess. My taxi driver hates Jamie Oliver. Which seems discriminatory against people with lisps.

Okay, that was quite a tangent.

My mom/mum alerted me today to yet another celebrity copying her. Last week we were making fun of my mom because one of Bryan’s friends emailed him to ask if my mom had a boob job. Apparently he hasn’t ever noticed before how ridiculously stacked she is. Yes, I am talking about my mother’s breasts. Yes, she is horrified by this. Yes, I got my dad’s genes. Whatevsies. So we all thought the email was so funny that when we went bowling, we made my mom pose like this:


And then wouldn’t you know it, one of Hugh Hefner’s Girls Next Door (or “Girls of the Playboy Mansion” as they are known in England) had to go and do the same thing:


Oh yeah, another thing about my new homeland-people always ask “you alright?” when they see you, and the emphasis is on the last syllable (I would have to perform it for you I guess). I think here it pretty much means “how are you?” but I still get thrown off and stammer for a response. I always wonder if I look terribly ill or something and they’re worried about me.

I love my dry cleaner. I really do. She is young and Polish and is really nice to me even though I’m annoying. Here is the conversation we had this week.

Me: Hi, sorry I have so much stuff today.

DC: That’s okay. How was your trip home?

Me: Oh, so nice you remembered!

Okay, I have 5 sweaters.

I mean jumpers.

And one pair of men’s pants.

I mean trousers.

DC: (laughs at me, I guess because pants is not a nice word)



Filed under celebrities, culture clash, holidays, london, translation, tv

9 responses to “today’s train of thought

  1. Maddo

    Makes me think of when you dropped your brolly.

  2. mira

    What does pants means?!

  3. cracked me up! it’s a good thing my students were taking a test. I thought the pins were the only things that were stacked!!

  4. Funny about “you alright?” Here, everyone greets me with “how are YOU today?” and it seems somehow more meaningful, although I realise they’re not all personally interested in my health and well-being. I guess when a greeting is less familiar, it feels less formulaic.

  5. Ney Ney

    ah, if only i were 43 years younger, i might have a shot at living in the mansion…
    years ago, my dry cleaner told me i was his best customer. i don’t think that was a compliment.

  6. Elizabeth

    Reminds me of when I first moved to the States and was utterly flummoxed when people said “What’s up?” I had to ask people what the standard response was.

  7. dev0347

    Surely most sentient people hate Jamie Oliver? He’s a mockney chancer.

  8. You alright? Throws me everytime. I look over my shoulder to see if a sick person is standing behind me in need of immediate medical attention.

  9. yael

    I figured out another reason “you alright?” throws me off… it demands a yes or no answer whereas “how are you?” allows for so much more creativity. Like you could say “chillin”. I mean, so fun.

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