Well I’m blond again, very blond. I think the Turkish hairdresser, delighted at the opportunity to break into her dusty stock of bleach, went a wee bit OTT. I think I look Dutch, or with my glasses on, sternly German. So I’m wondering if people will stop automatically speaking to me in English. It’s not just because I speak such bad French. I mean yes, my French is shite but I broke them of that habit about three months ago. Before going to speak I construct a generally grammatically correct sentence in French, roll it out, all ‘r’s blazing, and then try and hide my incomprehension under a blank expression as they chat back under the mistaken belief that I might have a clue.

No, unfortunately they speak to me in English before I ever even open my mouth. And it drives me mad! Unaccountably and unreasonably mad. Today, when the chap in the African coffee shop asked me for my order in English, I told him that when he paid his 80 bucks and endured a Ryanair flight to Ireland I would certainly speak to him in English but here I intended only to speak French. Okay, I stuttered out a far more simple, less subjunctive ridden version of that but he caught my cranky drift. And he got off lightly! When some other poor leachy random punter asked me if I ‘want go for little coffee’ I spat back in guttural agrammatical Irish that I most certainly would as long as he spoke to me as Gaelige’. He ran.

But why this annoyance? I mean my Irish is even worse then my French. I surely can’t be surprised that people can tell at 50 paces that I’m foreign. I mean I patently look it and yeah English is my first language. Is it that people might think I’m British? Is my post colonial angst still that deeply imbedded? I seriously don’t know. I think I need someone with far more national insight to articulate what I’m feeling for me. For funnily enough a few of the other Irish ex-pats said they felt the same simmering resentment and had been known to resort to the odd soliloquy of the ‘Ar N’Athair’, which was a relief as I don’t want to be the only ‘crazy foreign lady’ speaking in tongues.

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