The Books of My Numberless Dreams

The funniest thing happened…

Posted on: November 28, 2007

I was smack in the middle of a second romp through The Owl Service, working my way through the language and trying to get a better handle on my reactions, when the author appeared and told me that my efforts are hopeless, the book will *”tell me nothing”. Now my brain is malfunctioning because the neurons are frantically trying to reverse the information retrieval. What should I do? (To lay everything on the table I have not dismissed the possibility that it was my thesis advisor in disguise.)

A weird-facts-about-me meme! Dewey tagged me.

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

1. I’m not a big hip hop/dancehall fan. Apparently my skin colour and/or nationality was supposed to genetically transfer these traits to me, but I would not be surprised to learn that the delivery stork dropped me before I made it to the hospital. If the listener is West Indian I allay all fears by crowing about Beres Hammond; I’m actually more of a Super Ape kinda girl, but if the listener is under 30 I’ll get no response. If she is North American I will earnestly express an interest in jazz, but that rarely works, or she replies with something about Norah Jones/Diana Krall, and I disappear.

2. I don’t have a Jamaican accent, or at least not a strong one. This has puzzled my peers (as well as myself, really, although it’s never an issue unless someone brings it up) for decades, since I was born and raised there. I’ve given all kinds of explanations: raised at a hotel for 12 years; went to a school at which most of the kids (or at least my friends) did not speak the local patois often (we had students from Canada, Surinam, China, Ireland); and my mother forbade it at home. Rarely do any of these explanations completely satisfy acquaintances so they conclude (or the assumption lingers) that I put on an “accent” in order to give the impression that I come from “foreign” and am therefore in some way superior to the local citizenry.

My general disinterest in dancehall (and hip hop, when it became big) did not help.

Conversely, I get really annoyed when I meet second generation Jamaicans here who compliment me on how “well” I speak.

3. The only tv station I watch is Turner Classic Movies. I may suffer through tv news (BBC World, which isn’t bad) but I can’t stand tv news shows in general. I don’t like the performance aspect. Gets on my nerves.

4. I would live in Newfoundland, if I could. It’s just that bioethics isn’t big up there.

5. I really like romance novels, even though I’m no longer the kind that goes through 4 books every month. (That more accurately describes my yearly purchase these days, as I enjoy the works of less and less authors.) There are lots of “literary” readers who proudly reveal their love for certain genres like mysteries or science fiction, but romance books seem to be at the bottom of the barrel, the one you really, really don’t want to be seen reading.

While romance fans often read pretty diversely, I rarely come across one (well I never have, off or online) who is as devoutly interested as I am in non-genre works. The closest to my ideal (ha ha) is Dark Orpheus, who doesn’t read romance, but manga, which is probably hanging around with romance near the bottom of the barrel.

6. I went to a boarding school that wasn’t for the rich. The typical view is that such schools offer a rarefied experience where you play…lacrosse (?) in your little dorms, jump around in plaid skirts and jet off to Paris for weekends. Of the three years I attended mind the school fee was lower than my elementary school’s. In the newer buildings there were only six to a dorm, but in the older buildings you were typically living in a huuuuge room with about 30 bunk beds. If one was lucky it had lockers at the side. The water supply was erratic so it was prudent to keep a bucket filled with water in case that was what you had to shower with in the morning.

Until recently, Jamaican boarding schools were subsidised by the government, so their high quality academics and discipline were available to a much larger segment of the population.

7. Sometimes, when I’m feeling giddy, I seriously consider staging a broadway Shakespeare adaptation on the roofs of one of the campus buildings. Then I usually segue into wondering whether I should become a professor so I can get tenure and then be able to wear a cape (and maybe a top hat) to class and not give a fuck.

*I don’t think he appreciated my enlightened, cogent assessment of Gilgamesh either.

14 Responses to "The funniest thing happened…"

RE: number 1 – I am SO with you on that. I am “hispanic” (parents from Puerto Rico, I was born and raised in Pennsylvania). By default, you’d think I can do or am into the following: dance really well, love spicy food, listen to hardcore / gangsta rap, love Spanish music, and have a Puerto Rican flag somewhere in my car.

Nope. Nada. Not one bit of it.

I can’t dance for crap. I don’t car for spicy things. I can’t stand gangsta rap (this coming from the guy whose favorite band was the Cure growing up, and loved Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, and all things Modern Rock). Don’t care for Spanish music. And I wouldn’t be caught dead having a Puerto Rican flag anywhere in my vicinity. Dude, *I* cross the street when I see a hispanic male coming towards me.

My wife (who is white) tells me that I’m whiter than her. And I don’t dispute it.

At least I can speak Spanish fluently. LOL

You’d live in Newfoundland if you could? Why is that? I’m assuming you’ve been there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine place- I’m just curious where that came from.

Speaking of which, as an ex-Newfie (oops, that term’s supposed to be passe), I’ve lost the accent- and I agree that it’s very annoying to be given credit for speaking “properly.” I also met a guy that when into hysterics that a Newfoundlander would possibly be teaching English as a 2nd Language. I’m not given to violence, but that nearly pushed me over the edge.

Julio there you go! And I can slip into the Jamaican patois when desired. I’m an ok dancer but nothing to brag about.

John I’m attached to islands and I’ve tried all the major ones out East and liked it best. To make what I could turn into a very long story short, I took the people and the landscape there the best, even thought, at first, that I’d be an “outsider”. I didn’t even mind the cold (much).

There’s a bit of injustice that I mistakenly typed “when” when I really meant “went” as I told the story of being insulted by a guy that said Newfoundlanders shouldn’t teach English. Somewhere there’s a god that’s prejudiced against me too!

As for the cold, yes it’s true that Newfoundland summers are somewhat short and never scorching, but on the plus side humid days are few and far between and the winters don’t come close to the cold of Nunavut, Manitoba or even parts of Ontario for that matter.

Become a professor, Imani! I love the idea of you swirling around campus in a cape and eccentric head-gear.

“Dark Orpheus, who doesn’t read romance, but manga, which is probably hanging around with romance near the bottom of the barrel.”

I like the view from the bottom — because the only way you can go is up!😉

“so I can get tenure and then be able to wear a cape (and maybe a top hat) to class and not give a fuck.”

Oh, yes please. And maybe add a sword-stick to the ensemble, like GK Chesterton.

I once had a lecturer in Victorian Lit who dresses up like a Gothic Romance heroine, with the long tresses and the wild eyes — and a somewhat breathless manner of speech. She embodied the spirit of what she teaches, I say.

I really think you would make a stupendous professor – top hat and all.

Newfoundland must be cold – that would put me off right away.

The author’s apparition is weird indeed! Is it a prank? I, like you, don’t quite know how to understand his comment, but please continue to let us know about the Owl nonetheless!

john yes! Some bits of Northern Ontario — gosh even Thunder Bay — were feckin’ horrible (or so it seemed to me). So you’re right Nfld. isn’t the worst of the spots temperature wise. Now if someone could just fix the job market thing…;)

Also, if I moved so far, I don’t think my mother would ever forgive me.

charlotte, I’d probably have to get rid of my ‘fro: a top hat wouldn’t settle too well on it, I think.😀

Dark O since my specialisation is bioethics, maybe I should dress up as a caped…stem cell…thing?

verbivore aww, thank you verbivore.🙂 I think I may head out into a research/think thank, though, one oriented towards improving science education in schools and the general public. Or something else, by next week. It changes.

Smithereens, I haven’t the slightest idea and know of no way to find out, except somehow contacting the author directly. But I don’t want to do that in case it really was him and I end up with more terse responses.

I will.😀 Are you in Slaves of Golconda? You should take a look at the group (the blog is in my sidebar), we’re a fun bunch.

This was fun to read — I enjoyed learning a little more about you🙂

Definitely become a Professor, there is nothing better than teaching developing, active minds. I’m with you on the accent, by the way. Born and brought up in Birmingham I floor people by not having a Brummie accent – at least to the average ear. Has a phonologist ever listened to you? A really good one can pick up just the occasional Brummie sound in my speech.

Thanks, Dorothy.

Ann D, no I’ve never spoken for a phonologist — I must find one! Others have commented that my Jamaican accent is more detectable when I’m speaking with Jamaicans, then completely disappears when chatting with anyone else. Jamaicans scoff and say it’s only a hint and I still sound as if I’ve lived here for two decades. Ah well.

Nice to know there’s someone else out there like me, though!

most interesting!

well, you already know i think you should be a professor. the top hat, i’m not so sure, but the cape–definately! (and you can hide kittens under it if you ever need to bring one to class.

Definitely a top hat.

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