Clash of the Accents: “Here” vs “Hair”

Time for a humorous story! Things have gotten a little heavy around The Empty Inkwell lately, so I thought I dig deep into my abounding arsenal of awkward experiences and serve up some self-deprecation for everyone’s amusement. Enjoy a cringe on me. 😉


ID-10076950When I lived Down Under, accents got me in trouble more than once.

One instance stands out particularly well in my memory because it is forever etched with the hot iron of mortification.

It was at a hair salon where I’d never been before. Now, anything that involves hair, for me, is emotionally scarring. At that point in my life, my hair frizzed and puffed on the brink of hopelessness. Even if the hairdresser smiled politely from behind the bush in the mirror, the look in her eyes said, “I can’t do miracles, so don’t ask for any.”

Chit-chat is not one of my strong points, but apparently I’d said enough for the hairdresser to know I wasn’t from around those parts. She asked how long I’d lived in the country, etc. Five minutes into the haircut, when the poor hairdresser’s brow was tighter than the fists I was hiding in my lap, she ventured another question. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear it clearly. (It must have been all that hair she pushed over my ears.) Given that she was studying my hair, I thought she’d said, “How do you like your hair?”

So I told her…and with utmost honesty. After all, when everyone in sight is either suppressing a laugh at your expense or feeling sorry for you, this was no time to feign contentment. And besides, she might have been asking so that she could recommend something.

But when I finished my “It’s obviously not something I take delight in” monologue, there was silence.

And then it hit me.

She’d asked me how I like it here.

My eyes grew wide as I looked to the mirror. My cheeks were red and the hairdresser was busy not looking at me. After all, I’d just insulted her town and her country. “Oh, how do I like it here?” I gasped. “Yeah, it’s fine, it’s great, I like it. Um…”

Strange how the conversation never picked up again.

Not so strange that I never went back.


When has a pronunciation or spelling ever gotten you in trouble? I’d love to know I’m not the only one! 🙂

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4 comments on “Clash of the Accents: “Here” vs “Hair”

  1. Francis Madler says:

    With nearing aids, i have this trouble all the time. Just imagine all the hairy stories i could tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the most trouble when people ask me about writing and riding. They sound so much alike I often have to ask them again which one they said before I launch into a whole explanation about how it’s been too cold and icy to ride when in fact what they asked me was how was my writing going. I usually figure it out when their facial expression takes on a puzzled look, as if they are trying to figure out how ice roads and cold weather has any bearing on my ability to but fingers to a keyboard and produce words. Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lizzie says:

      Haha! So with Given on this! There’s been sooo many times I’ve confused people and they thought I was saying “riding” when I was actually saying “writing.” Once was in my orthodontist office. :p She asked me what kinds of things I liked to do so she could write in my chart (apparently orthodontists need help with ways of talking to you while they work on your teeth.)

      “Well, I enjoy writing,” I said.

      She nodded without looking up. “Mhhmm. What kind of riding do you like doing?”

      *Crickets chirp.* “Uh… 4-wheeling?” Then I realized the connection. “Oh! No, I like writing–not riding.”

      Best part of the story though, the next time I came in a new assistant glanced at my chart and goes, “So you like… riding?”

      LOL! I’ll have to think about this though because I think this has happened to me a lot and I can’t remember all of them.

      There was the time I thought an “eskimo” was an occupation… but luckily that was just with my mom, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] #2: Clash of the Accents: Here vs. Hair, a dose of self-deprecation, aka “that embarrassing time when…” […]

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