Problems With Having an American Accent in Australia That I Never Noticed in England:
- I regularly get twice as much hamburger from the butcher as I request. Seriously. You see, we Yanks pronounce “have” and “half” almost identically. The vowel sound – at least in my Midwestern experience – is the same. Australians, though, pronounce that second word more like “hoff”. So when I approach Dobsy, our local butcher, and say, “Can I have half a kilo of mince, please?” he inevitably gives me a full kilo. It’s like he thinks I’m an idiot and I’ve repeated the “have” twice, because he doesn’t hear the “hoff.” After the first couple times I finally figured out why, but I feel like an idiot over-enunciating and saying, “Could I HAAAV HOFFFF a kilo…” So now I just get the big bags and split them up when I get home.
- Everyone thinks I’m Canadian. Well, they don’t actually. It’s just that everyone assumes you are because apparently Canadian backpackers get way annoyed when you assume they’re American. So Aussies always start off by asking if you’re Canadian. Which is fine, but it’s getting to the point where it annoys me. Why Canadian backpackers have to be so sensitive, I have no idea.
- Whenever I ask a shopkeeper for something they don’t carry, they think I’m making it up. Exhibit A: the spaghetti squash. When the Snook and I gave up pasta, I thought this would be a great replacement. The only problem is that not a single greengrocer I talked to had ever heard of the damn thing. They’re all like, “It’s like a pumpkin? And you eat it like pasta?” You’d think I was describing some strange Narnian vegetable. I finally gave up on that one. Exhibit B: Since I’m trying to cut down on the beer consumption, I’ve been drinking more cocktails. I saw an ad for Absolut Vanilla recently and I thought, “Man, that sounds good! Mix it up with a little Diet Coke and you’ve got a Vanilla Diet Coke With Kick!” Unfortunately none of the liquor stores in Newtown carry it. Which is fine, except for the fact that the guy at the last one was like, “Are you sure it exists?” Me: “Yeah, I saw it advertised in a magazine.” Him: “In Australia??” Me: “YEAH, IN AUSTRALIA. I’VE BEEN LIVING HERE FOR ALMOST TWO BLOODY YEARS, YOU TOOL!” Maybe I’m the one that’s getting oversensitive.
- Some people are just mean. The old lady at the laundrette was asking me about my holiday recently (since we had so much clothing to wash) and asked where I was from. After assuring her that, no, I wasn’t from Canada, she asked how long I’d been in Australia. “A year and a half!” I proudly announced. She turned and sniffed, “Haven’t really lost the accent yet, have you, love?” Beeyotch.
I’m sure I’ll think of more.