I am split. I am hewn.
I am both solid and hollow. Light and dark. Coated and bare. All at once.
I am a blob of oil paint, cialis sales mind roosting on a painter’s palette. I am being broken down by turpentine. Added to. Transformed into a color to be used as an accent shade, cialis usa sickness or perhaps for mysterious shadows in some grand masterpiece, or even minor work.
If I am blue, am I now grey?
Put on your hard hat. I’m about to hit the panic button.
I’m scared. My accent is slowly packing its alphabet into a haversack and plotting a course back to the mainland. And it’s leaving without me! And I never suspected a thing. I didn’t get advance warning. Not a blackmail note from cutout letters. Not even a text message on my phone. I had to take a trip back to Australia to learn the ugly truth.
I am losing it. I am losing my accent. I am losing myself.
This accent of mine—let’s call it ‘Bob’ for the purposes of this story—has been bumming around New York for three years now. Let me tell you a little bit about Bob.
Bob’s kind of odd. Bit of a loner. Not quite the ‘wearing his dressing gown on the street’ kind of odd. More reclusive than anything. He doesn’t like hanging around other Australians in New York. Finds them too threatening to his domain. He chooses to mix with the locals, because that’s where all the action is.
And that’s when he got molested. By people he thought were his friends.
Of course, you hear about this kind of stuff happening all the time—it’s on Law and Order twenty times a day—but you never think it will happen to an accent you know. Let alone a good friend like Bob. A strong and proud accent. The kind of accent you’d think could fend off any attack.
Tell us, Bob. Just point to it. Where on this doll did the American accent molest you?
Hey, it happens.
Incident Report, Christmas Day, 2005
NSW Police Dept., Accents Unit
Called to private residence in Tamworth, NSW, Australia. Interviewed several occupants of the residence. According to witnesses, “Bob” received shock when “Uncle John” claimed at the dinner table that Bob sounded ‘a bit American’. Bob’s owner, “Noodle”, was clearly shaken by this claim.
Additional testimony provided by Noodle’s father “Stephen”. He disagreed with Uncle John’s assessment of Bob.
Noodle, though pleased to hear her father say so, proceeded to engage in much hand wringing. Claimed that she had secretly feared Bob had been molested in NY, and this had added grist to the mill of her theory.
My dear friend, Bob, has become something of a weird hybrid. It’s not noticeable to anyone else around me right now. While I’m in America, I mean. But I hear it. In my ear. Previously Bob’s words leapt out of my mouth like twiggy water from a mountain spring. They caught in my teeth and were affected and unique. Now they flow more smoothly. Filtered.
Bob’s once harsh, harpy-like vowels have been beaten on the American anvil into sounds with no corners. No personality. No edge. These words slide off into the air and bother no one. They blend in. Homogenized for easy consumption. I want to cry. For although Bob doesn’t slip often, once is one time too many.
It’s funny. I used to be embarrassed about how ugly Bob was. How I couldn’t take him anywhere. About how one utterance could make an eardrum cringe. Now I just want to take him back to my apartment and talk him out of his trousers. Hey, Bob. Wanna come up to my place?
Incident Report, January 4, 2006
Australian Federal Police, Accents Unit
Called to Muddy Murphy’s pub, Canberra, Australia. Complainant Noodle gave account of how friend Bunker had insulted Bob by saying he sounded ‘a little bit American’.
Later, in private interview, complainant Noodle said, “How can Bunker say that when just half an hour ago on a phone call, my friend Matt said that it was good that Bob had not lost his accent at all!”
Noodle then proceeded to engage in much hand wringing. Claimed that she had secretly feared Bob had been molested in NY, and this had added grist to the mill of her theory.
Officer’s note: Noodle said something more like ‘gerd’ instead of good. If Bob also talks this way, I can see Bunker’s point.
You know, if you had asked me what my Australian identity was tied to—what was at the gooey center—I never in a million years would have said Bob.
I would have said ‘My knockabout sense of humor’, or ‘my easy way of being’. Or maybe ‘my love of the bush, and the sun, and life’. I never would have said Bob.
But crap. I can’t live without Bob. He’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had. Without Bob, I shall unravel like a Mid-East peace plan. I feel it already. Parts of my identity are shucking off like shuttle tiles. It stings. Paper cuts to the webbing of me. And yet, I suppose it has to happen.
I HAVE been split.
I HAVE been hewn at my base.
Each year, the gap yawns and stretches wider. Two lives. Each valuable to me. Each on a different continent.
Here I am, one Noodle, split by my own design. Halved purposefully for the adventure. Chasm-wide and excitable for the experience. Yet constantly throwing out panic ropes to tie my two worlds together. Here I am. At once here, yet there. Two Noodles. Two identities. Each continent is joined by me, yet they’ve never met. They’ve never walked up to each other at a party and said, “Howsa?”
Yes, it is painful to realize that Bob is leaving. But you know what? I’ve never liked the way he said ‘Noawh’. So if I lose that in the cultural exchange, it’ll all be worthwhile.
NYPD - domestic dispute
Called to apartment on Upper East Side. The single occupant, Bob (perhaps short for Roberta?), seemed to be talking about another occupant called Noodle, who was not visible.
Transcript of conversation:
“I mean seriously. I don’t get what all the fuss is about. I’ve just been rubbing up against a lot of different acquaintances and it’s not really hurting Noodle at all. And for every person that got all up in my face when we were in Australia and said ‘you’ve changed’, there were five people who said ‘you’re the same bloke as always, Bob’.
And seriously, it’s just a matter of physics anyway. For every accent molestation I’ve endured, I’ve injected something back into those American souls. Equal and opposite reaction, man. Einstein nailed it right on the noggin.
They might not talk like me yet, but they’ve learned some pretty unique words and phrases. It makes them whole. It makes them worldly. It’s the knowledge exchange, man, and where’s the harm in that?
Really, she’s just pissed because of all the American accents to pick up, I settled on a non-threatening one. Would she have preferred Texan drawl, or southern Y’all? I tell ya, you just can’t please her.”
Officers note: Called to get psyche evaluation.
Toodle Noo. Here endeth the missive.
©Janeen McCrae 2006