Thursday 9 August 2007

Daily Life - American Overheard

Started re-reading some of the quotes on the site recently and while the site seems to be rather hit and miss the book has sold fairly well in Ireland. Had to wade through a lot of quotes regurgitated from old jokes to find any mildly funny ones on the site (these are best read in a broad Dublin accent):

If you want a job done right...
Last night, saw these kids on bikes messing around and narrowly avoiding the traffic. Then their Da shouts "Stop it...if I want ye in hospital, I'll kick your heads in meself!"

I was at an ATM one day in Abbey Street and there was a few people ahead of me. The woman at the machine was taking her time while we waited in the rain. Next thing a skanger in the queue says “Aw here luv, are ya on da bleedin’ internet or wat?”

I don't think the quotes above are very representative of the street wit you can get in Ireland, particularly in Dublin, but there are always a few gems to be heard if you listen closely enough. Any ones come to mind?

Eavesdropping on what seems like an interesting conversation between Irish people in a public area can be a difficult task with the male habit of talking shoulder to shoulder and female habit of speaking in hushed tones with their hands in the special "We're telling secrets" pose. Throw the Irish brogue into the equation and it's nigh on impossible.

Maybe one shouldn't be listening to other peoples' conversations but if ever you have spent time on a Irish public bus with an mp3 player that has no earphones, a dead phone, no newspaper and a hangover you would too. Bus Eireann also seem to have mastered the art of having the radio at just the right volume so you can hear that someone is talking/singing but not make out any of it. Well, it was on such a day a while back that I found myself eavesdropping on an Irish passenger listening to and answering the questions of an attractive American backpacker... from 7 seats away. What bliss was this!

No one beats the Americans for range, randomness and volume of their quotes. I could sit back and listen to the conversation without having to ask or answer questions or appear interested or decide whether to fill any silences or leave the conversation peter out. Eventually, I found my earphones and could easily tune in and out of the conversation like a cheap soap opera.

American conversations are like listening to surround sound after years of intermittent mono. Walking by Americans in the street is even better as the quotes come thick, loud and fast "It was really spiritual time in my life", "Oooh, Larry says he's feeling gassy after lunch", "Awww, man they were crazy times!". How could a writer be stuck for inspiration when any group of Americans seem to provide a kaleidoscopic view of lives past and present from the surreal to the banal, it's all there... in stereo.
Abre Los Oidos!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you enjoy american, em, slipups, then have a read of or add some stories you've heard yourself. its only a new site