Saturday, 18 April 2009

Confusion, Lies and Chris De Burgh

A quick blog now about something I did this week that would only usually occur in a sitcom.

A bad, clichéd sitcom, full of unrealistic characters getting themselves into ludicrous and perfectly avoidable situations.

I was in the Post Office and I got mistaken for an American by the man serving me.

For some reason I'm always getting mistaken for either an American, a Canadian or an Australian. I can't think why, I have the most middle-England accent of them all.

Actually that might very well be it.

Over the past few years nearly everyone in South East London has started talking in a sort of weird, affected Dick Van Dyke mockney accent.

But I still speak like a normal person and accordingly I have started to sound like a foreigner in my own country.

So anyway where was I, ah yes, I was in the Post Office and the guy serving me mistook me for an American. Something I didn't realise myself until half way through the transaction.

He'd started off by asking me if I liked living in this country. But I just took this to be uncoventional smalltalk and said that yes I did.

Then midway through regaling him with the bits I liked most about England I twigged that he was asking me because he thought I was American – a fact that had been confirmed for him when it turned out the parcel I was sending was bound for New Hampshire.

Where I now hail from by the way.

For some reason, instead of telling him that I was English, I instead started to put on a subtle American accent and make up a reason for being over here - I'm a student apparently.

No idea why I started doing an accent. He already thought I was an American on the basis of my normal English voice. But I suppose I didn’t want to go and get rumbled at that late stage.

He'd think I was weird for not correcting him immediately. Oh and for giving myself a backstory.

It's my local post office, I use it quite a lot, and from now on I have to go in there remembering to pretend to be an American.

I am an idiot.

A similar thing happened to me a couple of years ago.

I had a picture of a child dressed up as a tiger as the desktop background on my work PC.

I should probably provide something by way of an explanation here.

He was a strange looking kid from this amusing news story I had read:

Looking at him always made me laugh.

Hmm. That explanation didn't do me any favours did it?

Anyway, my computer was playing up so I called IT. The guy who came to fix it thought the kid was mine and started saying "They're lovely at that age aren't they? What's his name?" And so on.

I couldn't just say "He's not mine, he's just hilarious to look at" so I found myself inventing a name and a life story for this kid.

I worked in this office for a further year, and everytime I saw this IT guy I had to update him on the progress of my fictional son.

The moral to all this, if there is one, is probably to tell the truth. Or failing that learn to lie really, really well.

And finally, some of you may recall that I like to waste both my own time and that of Chris De Burgh by asking him questions through the Ask Chris section of his website.

Well I also like to read the answers he gives to other people. And here’s a good one that I spotted earlier:

Judith and Annie Sens (29 and 54) from Volendam, The Netherlands:

Dear Chris, Last week we watched Ready Steady Cook. It was great to see you and Ronan Keating together in one programme. You and Ronan are our 2 favourite singers. We'd like to know if you know Ronan's music and what you think of it. Love, Judith and Annie from Volendam

Chris de Burgh:

What can I say about Volendam? I am thrilled about the support I have always received from the wonderful people in Volendam. And as you know, I went up and I sang in your church to raise funds for the victims of the terrible fire that killed and maimed and disfigured so many young people on the millennium New Year's Eve. Yes, Ready Steady Cook was great fun. I learned something extraordinary in that. I always thought I was a good cook when it came to meat for example, but watching a professional chef at work in 20 minutes creating a three course meal of high standard was awesome. He gave me this trick about cooking meat, where if you like fillet steak for example, you put the meat in a very hot pan and sear both sides. Well, I knew about that bit, but I didn't know about the next bit, which is: You take it out of the pan and put it on a tray, so that the juices can drip down, away from the meat, and you put that tray in a low oven for 5 minutes. And then either you can serve it straight away if people like meat rare or you cook it another little bit and then it just tastes delicious! Ronan Keating lives in Ireland. I know, he is a king golfer like myself. I come across him from time to time. He is a very nice lad. I wouldn't put myself at the top of his fan club. I think professional musicians don't necessarily do that very often to each other. But I respect him for what he has done and I wish him the best in the future. The fact that I am a professional song writer and it is something that he is becoming more and more involved in down the years, is a really good thing. And I hope that his song writing skills are honed down the years, because you can only improve, and I apply that to myself as well.

A word in your ear Chris. Two sentences that shouldn’t run in tandem are:

"...the victims of the terrible fire that killed and maimed and disfigured so many young people on the millennium New Year's Eve. Yes, Ready Steady Cook was great fun."


Nino said...

I love this phrase "And finally, some of you may recall that I like to waste both my own time and that of Chris De Burgh", it really made me laugh out loud. Same goes for your other stories. You're really a very funny person. The situations you you find yourself in are so funny and you really must be intelligent, since you're so quick to make up something. I'm really enjoying your blog. Please more X de Burgh, more Monty and more funny stuff from your life :) Your fan Nino

Christina Martin said...
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Maxamilian said...
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Margaret said...

Thanks Christina. I shall go to bed laughing (it's late), and wondering if I could get away with pretending to be someone much more interesting than me. No, I didn't mean that your pretend people were more interesting than you, honestly!

Nino said...
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Bing said...

My voice is often mistaken for a woman's at the McDonald's drive-thru. It's so bad that I make a point to sound already pissed off. And what gets me is that that once I pull around and they see my strapping, dead-butchiness, they never admit their mistake. A simple, "Here are your McNuggets, studmuffin" would suffice.

Oh, and once I was mistaken for Catalan.


Nino said...
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PaulJ said...

Those stories about the post office and the picture of the kid?

I don't believe you....