Tuesday, March 21, 2006

no worries

In my uni class there is an on line discussion board on which a fellow student has recently posted a topic that has been nagging me all day. I read the post and the subsequent responses rather early this morning and ever since the material has popped up at unexpected moments.

As I am off to bed in a few minutes; I thought I would disentangle myself from this nagging by responding here.

In a most fetching way the young man, my fellow student, wrote about clichés...and their import or lack thereof.

I wanted to comment on the discussion board but my American self shied away from joining in the repartee.

As I remember, most of the cliché's he used were as American as they were Australian, a fact that I found unusual. There are so many strong, native clichés present in the Aussie patois.

"Since I was slow off the mark on the other forums (tired cliche!), I figured I would jump the gun (another!) and make my mark (going for a record) on this virgin landscape (four in one sentence).

Birds of a feather (a fifth) as they say, flock together. So let's all be peas in a pod (gasp) and see where the road may take us (please stop)."

I am reminded that Australians have a few well-worn clichés that I hear every day. A total stranger will ask, "How are ya"? before any and every conversation, for instance. They actually wait a second or two for a response unlike northern hemisphere users of the question. Or, upon closing a phone conversation, 'bye love' is the frequent rejoinder as one is about to hang up the phone.

They really do eat 'bangers and mash' and they 'take a whiz'. They would never 'root' for the home team, but they love that Americans do. And most of all, no matter how small the favor or how large the effort on my behalf, when I earnestly say thank you, they respond, 'no worries' as though they truly mean it.

I have repeatedly tried to remember to respond with the same cliché when I am thanked, but somehow 'yer welcome' just slides out of my mouth before I can catch the phrase and replace it with its Aussie alternative.

I might add that 'ta' means thank you, 'cuppa' is something you drink, a' hotel' is a bar, 'arvo' is the afternoon, and 'togs' are swimming suits. I'm not sure if any of these fall into the category of cliche` or not..but they sure confused me when I first arrived.