Was My Face Red!

A coworker recently returned from a week long vacation in New York. She stayed with relatives, and began to worry as she heard herself slip deeper into her native New York accent each passing day. She was a bit fearful of becoming the subject of one of my posts (Hi Michelle!) when she returned to work talking about her “muddah, faddah, and kwoffee.”

The funny thing is, I’m okay with heavy accents from The South, New York, the Cayman Islands, and the Bay Islands of Honduras, given sufficient volume and lip movements. My brain is able to “fill in” the missing sounds when I listen to people who hail from these places. But most foreign accents leave me baffled, especially when extra syllables are added and emphasized. Case in point:

Customer: Re – AH – roo.

Me: (Blank look on my face) Please repeat that?

Customer: Re – AH – roo.

Me: (Speaking quietly to coworker) Please help me! I don’t know if he’s speaking English or not!

Coworker to customer: May I help you?

Customer: Re – AH – roo.

Coworker: (Points to restroom)

Customer: (Begins walking to the restroom, but not before giving me a disgusted look)

Me: (Humiliated)

In moments like this, it’s hard to prove I wasn’t raised by a pack of rabid wolves.


  1. Jennifer Said:

    Been there, done that, humiliated myself half to death…you have my sympathy!!!

  2. . . . and I still don’t know what word he actually said. I must be extra slow on the uptake, if reading it still does not fill in the blanks! Obviously it had to do with locating a restroom . . .

  3. Hoh Said:

    He pronounced restroom as rest-a-room.

  4. Kim Said:

    I had a patron like that not long ago. She kept asking for “Mile books” with a thick Russin accent. The only thing I could think of was maybe she wanted a map, so I asked what area she wanted maps for? She kept shaking her head and asking for “mile books! MILE BOOKS!!” You know– a “BOOKS” she says, and makes a rectangle with her hands, for MILES. Finally I asked her to write it down. Mail box. She wanted a mailbox.

  5. quixoticdeaf Said:

    I once went to Ireland. I was trying to find something that I couldn’t find. So I went into a store and asked the person working there. Of course, I couldn’t understand him. I think after the third time of asking him, he asked “Dew you speak En-g-lish?” Sigh. I hi-tailed it out of there without finding out where to go. Oh, the humiliation.

  6. jackie Said:

    Hi Cindy,
    Just a quick post here from someone just getting used to the hard of hearing world…I just wanted to say thanks for the laughs…you picked up my day today. I am off for some ear surgery tomorrow..and I needed a lift!! I am not even sure if this is how to actually post..but give me time and I might figure it out.
    anyhow..thanks you helped more then you know

  7. Hoh Said:

    Hi Jac,

    Hope you don’t mind my questions. What kind of ear surgery are you having? Tell me about your journey into deafness.

    Glad you enjoyed my blog! I hope you visit again soon after you recover from your surgery.


  8. Dianrez Said:

    Similar experience: the boss told me a coworker had a “collapse” and we should all go in the other room. Alarmed, I said, “is he okay??” After a hilarious snafu of communication and reassurance, I discovered that the coworker had simply brought “CLAMS” to share around. Lipreading ain’t reliable.

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