Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Monday, December 6

Blogger? I Barely Know Her!

Anyone besides me wondering who that Georgia is? Aside from posting kind words for me, she writes novels and has a thing for Irish beef eaters. Or something. But then again, these days who isn’t into carnivores with colorful accents.

Thanks, Georgia! Or should I say, “Cheers, an’ pass me t’ gravy bits, governa’.”

Speaking of accents, last month, when I was having Dim Sum with my friends Dr Modest and his wife Anna, I started ordering things with a vague Chinese accent. Nothing overt. I certainly didn’t say, “I’d rike the steamed scarrop dumpring, prease.”

But still, my speech was shaded in that direction. Echoing people is something I tend to do. When I spend time with my grandmother, who taught English to Cuban Immigrants on Calle Ocho until she was in her early eighties, I end up sounding like Tony Montana. (She would begin every new class with the warning, in Spanish, “Don’t think after taking this six-month class you’ll be able to speak English. I have been in this country 42 years and I still can’t speak English.”)

Before finishing this story in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that after college people frequently asked me if I was British or Australian. I think that was because they heard a vague southern accent—I spent three of my college years in Tennessee—combined with speaking English correctly and using diction that echoed Martin Amis more than Martin Short. That, and my facsination with “crumpets, stumpets and ham.” (For more on the subject of cultural misappropriation, see SeanBaby’s analysis of the Superfriend's Samuri.)

So I said to Anna, “When People go to London for three weeks they come back talking with a full on Brithish accent…”
“Like Madonna,” she said.
“Yes, Anna. Like Madonna.”
“And Kathleen turner.”
“Yes, Anna, like Kathleen Turner, also. Except Kathleen Turner got all twisted around and sounded like she was taught English from a Romanian immigrant. But Anna, my point is no one ever comes back from spending any amount of time in Hong Kong with any accent at all.”

So I was trying to explain, using a dignified Chinese accent, that I had just spent so much time in Chinatown that I had just picked it up and that it wasn’t intentional at all.

What, thankfully, killed this idea was my complete inability to fake a Chinese accent.
“You sound like a Frenchman,” Dr. Modest said.
“With a touch of Romanian thrown in.” Anna added.

Anna, who has a two-and-a-half-hour commute to work each way everyday, has finally had the time outside of her train, ferry, and bus riding schedule, to blog these pictures of our time together in New York.
In addition to photos of Dr Modest, her and me, she makes use a recurrent theme of bronze, including a photo of the above sculpture from the New York Historical Society, which is having an exhibit on the life of Alexander Hamilton. Follow the link, take a quiz and win a prize.

And you can stop your tittering right now because, no, Hamilton was not a founding member of the New York Metamucil society. It was the Manumission Society.

Everyone makes that same joke, Christ.


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