Monday, March 10, 2008

Feeling like an outlander

Yesterday in celebration of International Woman's Day, I performed my obeisance to the status of women in Australia.

Twasn't a very comfy position to find myself in. Suddenly, I felt the entire cloak of invisibility fall from my shoulders and was reminded that I am indeed an Amerikan, not an Australian. Not that I have ever pretended to be an Australian. Not even that I might want to become Australian. I just felt completely like I was an outsider, one who neither understood nor was accepted in the society of this down under continent.

As always, such an occurrence happened in the company of academics, well, really in the company of one academic, and probably an MBTI 'T' academic. That is, to this man compassion is non-existent.

"Aussies love American language, the vigour with which the words are uttered. Butt instead of bum. How much more expressive that word is."

And just how does one handle such a remark? I'm not the quickest kid on the block; I'm unlikely to win any wit race. Better to allow the whole sarcasm to just linger until it dies from a lack of response. I do a great turtle. I just don't manage to reach the finish line. I leave instead. Which is precisely what I did. The first one to exit the celebration. The first to wander home where I can continue to pretend that my language is quite similar to that of the people with whom I converse on a regular basis. Well, most of the time.

I must admit before I finish here that I did my own share of criticism or, as I would describe it, commentary on the morass that is Australian education. And that may well have set me up for what followed.

And so, this morning I am reminded that I am an outlander who is a visitor to this lovely paradise, not a native, not a voter, not an intellect whose thoughts are worthy of consideration.