It was an odd sort of day. A very tall man named Tree came to our house. He was bearing donuts which were actually eclairs. He was there to pack up our stuff so that it can be shipped off to North Carolina. He refers to himself in the third person, which is endearingly weird. When it came time to pack up an artificial tree he said, “Tree can’t pack himself.” What do you say to that?
On my trip up to the tip, as the landfill is known here, I was accompanied by a 10-minute expose on ghosts at the Globe Theatre in Dunedin. Following up on the other ghost-y events in that fair city founded by Scots, I’d say they have an infestation of ghosts – a fright of ghosts, I believe it’s called. But driving up the hill to the tip, there are dozens of white plastic bags that have been blown into the gorse and were blowing in the bushes like busy little Caspers trying to warn me off.
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Then I went to pick up my son at a house with no stairs up to the front door. And that confused me a great deal, as the entry porch is a good 10 feet of the ground. It took me a while to find the back door, which was actually the front door. It was that kind of day.
We've also been trying to sell one of our cars. I was told to have the car and myself back home by 5 p.m. to meet a prospective buyer. Unfortunately the guy was an hour early - and was from Glasgow. Amy shuffled out to meet me. I asked her how it had gone. She said she thought the guy was perfectly lovely, though she had had no idea what he'd been saying for the last hour.
Turns out the guy was off the boat from Scotland - and was a nice bloke. He'd admitted that his accent was giving him trouble. He'd been out with a few Kiwis the night before and, after a couple of beers, he noticed that people were just smiling and saying "yeah" to him.
"I suspect they didn't know what I was saying," he confessed.
It's a problem for the Scots, as Robin Williams brilliantly attests to below:
When the guy decided to buy the car he excitedly called Amy. After a few minutes she had to ask him to send her an email. She had no idea what was happening.
Turn around is fair play, though. The last time Amy and I were in New York City we had a Pakistani cab driver. He understood Amy perfectly, but every time I opened my mouth Amy had to translate. His ear was incapable of hearing my English.
It was a disconcerting day, but Robin Williams made me happy.