I figured it out when I got my brother and myself completely lost on our way to chic and scenic Stockbridge yesterday. As there wasn't much for Nulli to do yesterday afternoon, I thought I'd show him some of the sights. First, though, I had to get completely confused, lost, called out of the path of a homicidal double-decker bus, etc. Don't even ask about my total meltdown when my plans to bring B.A. back some Chinese takeaway were brought up short by the realization I had no idea where there was a decent Chinese takeaway on that side of the University.
"I think I'm crashing," I said shortly before the bus incident and didn't really feel quite myself until I had demolished a bun-less hamburger and cider vinegar-laden sweet potato fries in Holyrood 9A aka "the best hamburger joint in Edinburgh", as I promised Nulli. (Unsurprisingly, I have not been adhering as stringently to the LBS Diet Cookbook this week.) Feeling myself only lasted until the finding-a-Chinese-takeaway incident. There are some really, really, really terrible Chinese/Thai takeaways in this town, including the nadir, the one by the Historical House. Fortunately, Nulli has a sophisticated Sat-Nav on his phone. We found a little hole in the wall Chinese joint where two fat, lonely-looking Chinese students sat slurping noodles. Aces.
On Sunday afternoon I went with Nulli to my favourite hipster café to buy some coffee and, failing to find the kind I like, ordered cappuccinos instead. The place was packed---mostly with students on their laptops. It was quite a contrast to weekday mid-afternoons. But I found a space on a bench and directed Nulli to a stool by the counter across from me, and as we chatted the English girl beside me shifted impatiently, directed me annoyed looks, sighed, offered nastily to switch places with Nulli and then disappeared, looking huffy and resentful.
I was seriously offended because I knew exactly what her problem was: Canadian, like American, accents cut through the quiet Scottish air like knives, and since the average Brit can't tell the difference, lime-sucking resentment for Uncle Sam comes to the fore.
Normally I don't talk in the café, or on the bus, or to anyone in public spaces, much, except to a Scot or a Pole, so I had forgotten how loud (and American) Canadians sound in Edinburgh and how decades of anti-racism training has not stopped non-Americans from being bloody rude to Yanks. On the Rough Bus it was the same deal with the wee bearded guy in front of us: shift, shift, sigh, sigh, glare, glare. We switched to French.
Switching to French is easier for Nulli than for me. I seem to be incapable of saying "Oui" for yes. It keeps coming out Polish. And I don't ever remember seeing and hearing "Shift, Shift, Sigh, Sigh, Glare, Glare" directed at Poles. Outright hostility from the "Socially Excluded", yes. Prissy, passive-aggressive humph-ing, no.
I have been here just long enough not to say loudly, "Does my AX-cent bother you?" Naturally the last thing I want to do is start a rumpus on the Rough Bus. (And the obvious retort is that it's not the accent, it's the ***** volume.) But I am coming thisss closssse to starting a rumpus anywhere else, tabernoosh, ostine.