I am toadally not picking up an accent.
I mean – I am NOT picking up an accent. Not at all. Really. Apart from in shops, when it is a little easier than having to ask twice, and in conversation with taxi drivers (though for reasons of varying levels of inebriation Ive been asked if Im from Boston and Dublin AND Eastern Europe recently, so it might be said that though Ive picked up AN accent, it might not be the one relative to where Im actually living, weirdly)
Perhaps, in small part, Im picking up phrases. Frankly, it would be hard not to.
And by hard, I mean, like, SUPER-hard.
Because one thing I learnt very quickly about talking here was that the more positive you can be about anything, the better.
Awesome has for a long time been a guilty Americanism of mine, said at least 12 times daily and blamable on too many episodes of Gossip Girl, The OC, The Gilmore Girls, Project Runway, Americas Next Top Model and numerous other programmes that people will tut at me for (and I care not).
But suddenly, when I moved to San Francisco, awesome was no longer good enough.
With each person I talked to, I learnt more and more that good was the new whatever and awesome was the new good and SUPERAWESOME was the new awesome, and that was the end of it.
Or rather, it wasnt.
Because it wasnt nice when we met people. It was supernice!
And I choose to think this is a reflection of local dialect rather than how nice it is to meet us, because hes sometimes grumpy and Im usually shy (or supershy, as I believe it might be called).
And when people recommended a good pizza place around our area, it generally isnt because theyre good and/or deliver fast, but because theyre supergood! And even if theyre not, they deliver superfast! So its ok.
And you may think – I imagine, my cynical British friends, that you might, because I might have thought that I would – that this would be annoying. Or even superannoying.
But it isnt. Because its really just a reflection of how enormously positive people are – about everything; services, food, products, people, culture, EVERYTHING. And for someone whose default position has always been wary if not downright dismissive (but with a secret optimistic streak) its actually really refreshing.
Do I WANT my pizza delivered superfast? HELL yes! I want to think they brought it here with their pants outside their trousers (a sentence that might be lost on them, and on my A Merkin readers), I want to think they zipped through the streets to save the day with that, my pizza.
Do I WANT to think its Supernice to meet me? Of course I do! Even though I was standing in the corner joking really scared and really shy right up to the point where I suddenly drank too much without noticing (because I suddenly seem to have become superold without realising it and unable to handle any alcohol any more) when I became the bubbling centre of nine conversations before falling asleep on the sofa? Yes! Yes I do. I superdo. Can we say that? I dont care!
Are things REALLY superawesome? Actually, if theyre all brand new to you and everything is all this exciting and new and great then yes. Yes. Superawesome is just fine. Quite apart from fine, its simply correct.
I am, far from my cynical self, embracing the super, for now. I WANT everything to be super. I want to suck it all in and accept everything as being far more positive than it could actually be, just for now.
There are some other Calirfornyisms I might, just possibly, be affecting:
– The saying of I know, right? after someone saying something you agree with. Im not even sure what this means, but with the Californian inflection I knooooooow, RrriiIGHT? it seems to mean so very much, so Ive ended up saying it in complex social situations where I usually might get scared and/or stuck. I know, right?
– Seriously!!!. Said rather than yes. I think yes might be out of fashion, actually, considering the last point and this. Still, its like, superhandy in any situation where you might otherwise be totally clueless about what to say.
I know, right?
O, kill me now.
(not really, I kind of like it, much as I pretend not to)
(I know, right?)