Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rooting for Australia

No one asks you why you’re immigrating to Australia.

The reasons are self-evident; Australia is a biblical paradise of milk, honey, consistent 30 degree weather and pretty, toned, lightly toasted beach girls. The question is not so much; “Why you’re immigrating?” as “Why you haven’t left already?”.

Once here it’s all so familiar (climate and toasting beauties aside). They have tea and drive on the left. Everyone speaks English and unlike the North Americans they’ve left the language largely unmolested.

There are many opportunities to adopt Americanism that they’ve studiously avoided and so you find that they’ve got Lorries and Petrol. The alphabet ends with the letter Zed – not Zee. Though I rather miss the Irish pronunciation of the letter ‘R’ (We say “oar” as if we’d use the little things to move our boats along).

A rubber is an item of stationary not something spotty teenagers are embarrassed to buy in a chemist. Oh and they’re still called ‘chemists’ here – the tiresome trend in Ireland is to adopt the francophone form; ‘pharmacy’. And once in the shop (not store) our furtive stripling will join a queue (not a line). When served, he will eventually buy the latex items he came for, but only because at the last minute he spotted nappies (not diapers) on a shelf behind the counter.

And then the linguistic aspects of the young Australian’s experience begin to diverge from our own. (Steady!) For he will need to remove his daks (not in the chemist – but later for these are his trousers) and pash (rather than kiss) his inamorata and don his apothecary acquisition when he ‘cracks a fat’ (translation withheld – the ladies may swoon). Finally all pretence at romance evaporates when they have a “root”. As this is the tender term selected by Australians to describe the beautiful act of making love. How sweet!

In order to avoid confusion the word route is pronounced according to the American convention. This can pose difficulties for Irish network engineers who constantly talk about fixing their banjaxed router to a room of tittering Aussies.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

You can also imagine the afore-said ozzies chuckling away to themselves in Ireland after they've been told to 'have a root around' for a random lost object.

Your stuff was dropped off to me yesterday by the way.

I told your mother I'd do my best to look after you. She looked pleased, even if I am a complete stranger.