Monday, June 12, 2006

Can I bum a light?

As I've written a few times one of my friends concerns was that I'd start sounding like an American once I'd lived here for a while. I didn't think it likely that even 20 years here would override 48 years of prior art and subsequent visits to Australia have proven it; even though Heino would dearly like to detect a change of accent (bastard! :-) ) he admits he can't.

Maybe the accent won't change but some of the phrases I use have. The TSA got my cigarette lighter last week at Phoenix and I had no matches in my laptop case. You can't, so far as I've seen, buy either at an airport so the importunate traveller is reduced to patrolling the entrances looking for the individual fortunate enough to have one or the other.

At Dallas it was this old bloke puffing away with every semblance of not enjoying it but doing it anyway! I walked up and said 'can I bum a light?'. Oh the horror. Four years ago I'd never have said something like that. It would have been more like 'hey mate, got a light?'.

I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand I skate perilously close to the mindset that used to annoy Australians forty years ago when immigrants seemed not to want to learn 'the Australian way'. On the other hand, I do have an attachment to the culture I grew up in and a, quite natural I think, desire to retain it.

One could also, quite reasonably, argue that if I want to retain my culture 100% then I should 'damn well git my sorry ass outta here and git back there!'. A viewpoint I can't really disagree with!

So I guess I'll go with 'bumming a light'.

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