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February 8th 2010    Tim Candler

    When a loud voice directed me to, "Put the suitcase in the boot!"   I knew it belonged to an Englishman.  And had this same man said, "Put the suitcase into the trunk!" he would still have been an Englishman to my ears, because in those days experience had taught me that a certain class of English when concerned by issues of communication tend toward loudness. 

    I hated that job, and I was only given it because apparently I had language skills.  Much preferred kitchen work where I washed dishes and was sometimes allowed to wash lettuce.

   Naturally I pretended to have no idea what he was talking about and I put the suitcase on the back seat of his very smart, if rented, car.     

   In that bad tempered way I wondered what I should have said in reply.   "Do it yourself, you bloody fool!"  struck me as the better answer.  But then I moved on to work construction, and there, the loud voice issuing directions never belonged to English.   The blank uncomprehending stare from me was real enough.

    The most appalling thing however, is that I too have raised my voice in an attempt to be better understood.   "THAT TREE DOES NOT GO THERE,"  I remember saying to a younger man whose own home was far away. 

    He in his turn looked at me and I could see a reply written in his expression.   And I think he was saying ,"You are an asshole."

 

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