I had a long chat with the broadband technical support guy (who was Irish) not by my accord, but he was keen to chat. He’d probably told me his life story in those 20 minutes. Said he was a weight lifter, tried steroids, married to his high school sweetheart, for 4 years, met at 12 and started dating at 16, they were geeks, she became very pretty as she got older, and that he will go back to weight lifting if he loses the O2 job after Sky announces its plans for its takeover of O2 and how it will pan out for staff over the next month. Said he had a few weightlifting prizes under his belt. LOL… I never expected to have such a conversation when I was calling up for something so mundane. He said he will send another ADSL filter to me. And he was very helpful. Spent 5 to 10 minutes monitoring my broadband to make sure the changing of the Filter fixed the issue. (yea I had to search out the old O2 modem box for the extra Filter and replace the old one with it first)…
You know what? I was struggling to understand the accent half the time. It was super awkward for me (and maybe for him – I’m really sorry about it). I’m crap at understanding regional English accents. All I’ve learnt in my years of English education in Singapore was RP and the colloquial English in Singapore – termed “Singlish” by Singaporeans. I’ve lived for years in several parts of England, and have heard a few different Northern and Southern accents, but this guy’s accent just didn’t fit into any of the accents I’ve been accustomed to before.
I was trying to “place” the guy’s accent for the first 10 minutes of the conversation but just couldn’t figure out where he was from, to speak the way he did. I finally concluded in my own head that perhaps he was an Indian call centre guy who had a Cockney accent he picked up somewhere.
Then realisation came when the guy asked me how’s the weather over at my place. I told him the usual, you know… “It’s not too great, but it’s not so bad. Skies are grey, quite cold still, but it’s okay.” And then he said “Well at least it’s not like we’re stuck in snowy conditions, you know.” When he said that, I realised my conclusion of him being an Indian call centre guy was wrong! I then asked him out of curiosity, “Where are you from?” He said “County Durham, Northern Ireland”. And then I was like… “Aha. I see.” (In my head, I was going “D’oh!”, like in the Simpsons, you know…)