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I found myself getting onto a boat the other day. “The Spirit of San Francisco”, she was called. I was supposed to be joining two friends who wanted me to meet their friend. No, not a dude. Her name was Liz and my friends thought we both were so cool, we had to meet each other. (Their words, not mine)
It was actually one of Liz’s work events we were crashing on that boat. So while she was checking guests in and fielding inquiries about the open bar, my friends and I walked the flight of stairs to the deck, admiring the crisp night view of San Francisco’s scenic port.
Eventually we met up with Liz, when her duties had died down, enjoyed a few drinks and gawked unabashedly at the fireworks display. And when that was over and we couldn’t bear the bone chilling cold any longer, we made our way inside to exercise our best attempts at holding sober-sounding conversations while no longer being fully sober at all.
But I was okay. I hadn’t had too much to drink. That or I had properly done my job at the all-you-can-eat buffet laden on a table one floor below our drunk footsteps. (Yes, as you can imagine this little boat excursion takes top ranks in my list of hook ups) (by “hook ups”, I mean being “hooked up”) (not the adult sleepover) Being that Liz is in the field of digital and interactive set design (think concert backdrops or Burning Man installations), we sat and started talking about some of her past projects. I had been looking forward to conversing with her because I savor any chance I can get to rest my ears upon the English accent. And because she was purportedly as cool as me.
As she’s telling me about this enormous dome with pixel mapped geometric shapes she and her team had created for SXSW, I realize something about her voice. Well, back up a bit. My realization first stemmed from a slight disappointment in how unthick her accent was. I associated that with her college experience in the States — she’d studied at Brown for four years and has been living here since.
But still her accent was fairly distinct — in a way that isn’t about how the English accent typically sounds but distinct in that it reminded me so much of someone I knew. I realized I’d heard this accent before. My mental Rolodex flipped wildly for a sec. Who could it be? Who could it be?
Bingo. It was my friend who is Indian American. Her voice sounded exactly like this female Indian American friend of mine.
Of course my Indian American friend’s accent sounded like this English girl. History. Colonization. Duh.
So weird to be celebrating America’s Independence Day with a Brit who reminds me of an Indian American.
Perhaps I could have used a few more drinks. Happy birthday, ‘Merica.