Saturday, 14 April 2012

misunderstood


When I was about ten I had a crush on a boy called Robert who lived on my street.
I knew it was a crush because every time he so much as looked in my direction I would blush. Furiously. Bright fucking red.


I don't think he even noticed me until the day I, and several other kids, were watching him and another boy play marbles and he hit his then couldn't see where it went. It ended up near my foot. Thinking it would make him want to marry like me I picked it up and handed it to him.
Wrong.
Where it had landed meant that he would've won - if someone hadn't moved it. Instead of being grateful he shouted at me that I had made him lose, but at least he hated me knew who I was after that.
And then he ran home to his Mummy.

My Mum was a bit of a snob at heart. Our street consisted of three kinds of houses, most - like ours, were pretty typical terraced houses, and all were lived in by people who owned them. At one end of the street there were some local council owned homes, and at the other a disused building had been pulled down and some very new, very modern and very expensive three story town houses had been built a few years after we moved there.
The boy lived in one of the new houses.
My Mum and Dad had saved for a long time to buy their house, but prior to moving there when I was about four we had lived in a rented council house. Mum considered this to mean she had "bettered" herself by buying. Her snobbery over this meant that she regarded the "council house kids" who lived at the "bottom" of the road as not good enough to be my friends, which actually just made them all the more desirable to me, but she actively went out of her way to talk to the "posh" people who lived in the town houses.



That included Roberts mother.
Mum said that she always saw her in the mornings as they both left their houses for work at the same time and walked in the same direction for a bit. I suspect that the snob in my Mum deliberately left the house at the right time for this to happen. Nowadays I think you'd call that stalking.
Eventually they got to the point where my Mum would go and have coffee with her, although even when this was happening she still called her Mrs Castle and only spoke to her in her best posh telephone voice. Of course I saw this as a golden opportunity and would go with my Mum whenever she let me in the hope that I would get to drool over see Robert.

Robert, who was a year or so older then me would occasionally come into the kitchen when I was there and grunt at me and I would blush and mutter something smile alluringly back. One day his Mum suggested that he and I go and play together in their garden, and by virtue of pretending to like worms, faking interest in football and being in his company for long enough that my face reverted back to a normal colour he finally realised that for a girl I was ok, and we became friends.

I think he kind of started to have a bit of a crush on me a bit too. Mostly because he liked to punch me in the arm. Hard.

Until the day Mrs Castle invited me to have tea with them.
Them being Mrs Castle, Mr Castle (who was about seven foot tall and a policeman and a bit scary to lil me), Robert, and his two older brothers. Tea in their house was quite a posh affair, we all sat around a coffee table in the living room and ate little sandwiches and my drink was in a cup and saucer. Yeah snobby Mum would've approved alright.
After the sandwiches were cleared away another tray was brought out, this one contained cakes and a few other things. I took a cake then Mrs Castle picked up a sundae dish full of red stuff and offered it to me saying "would you like some Jelly ?"



In my house jelly looked like this :


And this was jam :



I did think it was a bit odd that there was only one dish of it, but then I thought maybe nobody else likes jelly or perhaps posh people just offer it to their guests. According my Mother they were entirely different to the rest of us mere mortals so what did I know.
So because I wanted to be polite, I took the spoon, filled it up and put it in my mouth. And then, even though it tasted like no jelly I had ever had before - far too sweet and actually not that nice - I ate another spoonful. Then, as I was about to put the third spoonful in my mouth, I realised that both Mr & Mrs Castle were giving me some very strange looks and Roberts two older brothers were starting to laugh. Robert had turned a similar colour to the jelly but also looked like he was going to laugh.

And then I realised my mistake.
And ran home to my Mummy.

After that Robert no longer wanted to be my friend, but I didn't mind. I was over my crush and onto blushing with embarrassment about the jelly fiasco every time I saw him and far too busy hoping he never told anyone. Even at that age Calamity followed me around.
And it seemed that for all her posh pretentions even my Mum did not know that posh people called jam jelly.


I believe Americans also refer to jam as jelly, I am often amused by the differences in the use of language between our countries. I once told an American that I was dying for a fag, which didn't exactly go well, although he laughed once he had figured out that I meant a cigarette. And the first time I realised that a fanny is an arse across the pond was because I heard an American saying that a girl had a nice one. That did not go especially well either but I laughed when I figured out that he was not referring to her ladybits.
Sometimes I can tell from reading a blog that the author is English, there's often a subtle difference in grammar. Anyone from the UK who used an older version of word will remember the endless green squiggly lines that would appear from using a programme designed for use in America.

Nowadays the thing that annoys me more then anything when it comes to language is the use of text speak. Literacy is a problem with our children far more then it ever was, and I don't think it helps that when communicating with each other they are not using proper words.


And there really is no need. It began when text messages were limited in the number of characters, so there was a point to it, but that's no longer the case. Even Facebook extended the length of status updates and yet I still see people using ridiculous abbreviations on it all the time. Some expressions have even found their way into the spoken word. I have started to hear people say "O.M.G", why ?
Laziness I reckon, a lot of the time anyway. At one time I thought it was actually quite a good equaliser in that it's harder to spot a dyslexic or someone who just can't spell when everyone is spelling incorrectly, but I've changed my opinion. Now I just think it makes everyone look stupid.
Even when they're not.



Once when I working in the children's homes a colleague and I were talking about text abbreviations, and she said lol meant lots of love. I told her no its laugh out loud, usually to mean that that's what you're doing, but also sometimes as an indicator of sarcasm, but she was insisting that I was wrong and she was right.
(When is the rest of the world gonna wake up to the fact that I'm always right ?)
Anyway this conversation went on a while and eventually I called the teenagers who lived in the home into the dining room where she and I were sat.
"Tell Kate what lol stands for".
"It's laugh out loud".
"Really ? I thought it was lots of love".
"No it isn't, Cowgirls right" ...exit two laughing teenagers.
I look at Kate who looks rather uncomfortable, and ask her whats up.
Apparently a couple of weeks earlier she had heard that one of her friends fathers had died and sent a text that said :
"Sorry to hear about your Dad LOL"

Poor Kate had been wondering why she hadn't heard back from her friend, after that she decided to pop round and see her to explain the mistake.



Most of it doesn't even make sense. I particularly hate the way people now write "dis" instead of "this", especially when they are middle class white boys. Listening to Hip-Hop and poor literacy does not make you black or a gangster. Or should that be gangsta.
And as for lmao, did anyone actually say they were laughing their arse off before that particular acronym made it's way into text language ? And anyway I'm always laughing, it's what gets me through life. And yet my arse is the size of a small country.
Despite my constant cackling at anything and everything it refuses to be laughed off.

I don't know, maybe I'm just getting too old to understand all these new fangled modern things.





28 comments:

  1. This was a great story DCG, I love how you thought you were doing Robert a favour but instead you made him hate you, awesome post.

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    1. It set the pattern for future relationships too.

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  2. As a Canadian we bastardize the language between American and English. We say Jam, not Jelly, we use "u"s where appropriate. But yeah, pants are what we wear over underwear and vests are over shirts.
    A friend of mine's dad is Scottish, talking about coming to Canada, after their male flight attendant pulled down his bag, asked how his flight was he said "Fine, but I could strangle a fag right now."
    Great way to start in a new country, with a new friend.

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  3. I, too, am out of vodka. So your relationship with Robert began with him losing his marbles. Jelly is jelly and jam is jam. Jam is thicker. The jelly in your photo looks like Jell-o to me. I think I know most Brit speak because my daughter went to Cambridge. I learned "fanny" from her boyfriend, and no, he wasn't telling me how nice my daughter's ladybits are. He explained the meaning to me. I don't think Americans say fanny very often now. We seem to prefer butt and ass, and I have heard and said I was laughing my ass off but I don't say it anymore because someone might think I mean lmao and I can't stand that crap. The lol about the dad dying is hilarious. And yes, it is true: You are always right. So am I because I agree with you.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. And that reminds me that I must make you top of the list for a special visit :)X

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  4. Ahhh that reminds me of the first time I went to someone's house. It wasn't quite that bad (what happened with you was their fault, it's jam, not jelly. THEY ARE BRITISH NOT AMERICAN). I just made myself a little too comfortable, and a little too at home. Now, even when I'm at a family members, I'm incredibly careful about what I do. As for text speak, I consider it an aberration that needs to be destroyed. I have heard my niece actually say "LOL" and "OMG" out loud, and my boss occasionally says "BRB" and I just want to beat them with a dictionary. I have never, and will never, sacrifice the language for the sake of convenience and space.

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    1. And now I want to hear the entire story of what happened....?

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  5. I can relate to your Robert problem...it reminds me of my first crush, with similar results lol

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    1. Like I said to Mark - entire story .... ?

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  6. My mom was kind of a snob towards the rich. She'd prefer me to hang out with the poor families. Something to do with "character" as I remember it. Wasn't until year later I realized how full of crap she was.

    The language differences always make me laugh. Especially if I'm playing an online game. I like to watch my fellow Americas argue with our cousins across the pond about how a word should be spelled. Sweet sweet irony!

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    1. Yeah I know what you mean, I have seen forums where that argument lasts for days.

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  7. Awesome post DCG. I define first crushes = unforgettable life disasters. Oh well ... to-ma-to or to-may-to, it's still a red fruit. :)

    I have to totally agree. I understand the shortened spaces for characters, but when people abbreviate on emails, letters and all that shit, it's just throwing education and the whole nine yards down the drain pipe. It's a bloody shame but it seems to be beyond repair. People have acclimatized themselves to the whole text language and vocabulary they have crippled their logic and thought coherence. I say, bun them all at the stake!

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    1. And now I am wondering if that spelling mistake was intentional.

      Because I have seen buns with jam in them.

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  8. Trying to comment through the blurry stream of my tears. Can't work out if it's from the flu, or from laughing out loud to this post!

    And that end picture, bloody priceless!

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    1. Yeah I don't know why but I kind of thought of you when I found that picture Lily.

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  9. OMG this totes made me LOL and LMFAO.

    On the real, this was hilarious. Language differences -- especially among the variations of the English language -- have always fascinated me. Like the jam/jelly thing. That's a new one on me. I'm American, and here, jam and jelly are similar. Both go on toast, sandwiches, and biscuits. Jam is smoother and has a bit more fruit and jelly is...well...more of a gel-like consistency. I prefer jam to jelly, but only because it's easier to spread and doesn't slide around everywhere like jelly does. What you call jelly we call gelatin, but no one ever says that because nearly everyone uses the name brand word Jell-o as a common word for any type of gelatin, no matter what company made it. Hence the term "jello." Eponym at its finest. Jello isn't used as a bread condiment. That's just...weird.

    And as an English teacher, it drives me nuts when kids are so used to text speak that that crap finds its way into their essays. I mean seriously.

    WTF?

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    1. Welcome JW.
      That happens here too - certain things become their brand name, and I remember going to Spain and forgetting to take a razor then trying to 'act' shaving my legs in the shop to explain what I needed. Turns out in Spain a razor is called a bic.

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  10. OMG!

    just kidding. your poor sweet self when you ate that jelly! you're so adorable :)

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    1. I didn't feel adorable at the time.
      I just wanted to ground to open up and swallow me.
      And to of not swallowed that fucking jam.

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  11. Awww poor child you; You should draw a picture of your and your jelly
    Good post!

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    1. I did try gweenie, but it just looked crap.

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  12. I felt a great deal of second-hand embarrassment with this one. I can relate to the jelly incident. Years ago, I had a flirtatious relationship with an English boy. He laughed when I told him what jelly was, he laughed when I pronounced 'garage', 'herbs', and 'basil'. I just wanted to sew my mouth shut. No matter what, I felt lol for him.

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    1. He sounds like a right charmer.
      I'd say you had a lucky escape, I bet he was related to Robert.

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  13. Agreed. The text speak annoys the shit out of me. To me, "ur" is not "your" no matter how you many times you text it and pretend that it is!!! :P

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    1. Indeed. But it was funny that we were both posting about the same thing at the same time.
      Spooky.

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  14. Here in America, we call what you would call jelly (gelatin dessert) jello. We call jam....jam. There is also what we call jelly, which is basically the same as jam but there is a slight difference! Whatever, I think I just confused myself right there.

    I confess I also used to think the lol meant lots of love and said it to someone on yahoo messenger who was talking about someone who died. I felt like such an ass after later learning what it really meant!

    And now that I know what it really means...I can lol with confidence! Much like I did reading this post!

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  15. I completely agree with the text speak thing. It used to be that any writing that a kid did was for school, so it had to be write. Now they spend more time on social media sites where it doesn't matter and they are quickly developing some bad habits.

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