Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Too old to go native

It's my last week at Fraggle Rock; I'm working out my notice period (a mere fortnight in these parts) and next Monday I shall begin a new appointment as Director for Web Development at One Economy Corporation, an NGO focused on bridging the digital divide. I'm excited about the opportunity for a host a reasons, probably the least of which is the job title itself, which will look great on business cards and sound good at cocktail parties, if indeed I'm ever invited to one; it's a worthy cause, and "Director" has a delightfully Victorian ring to it.

I have been wondering lately if I am in fact "going native." I genuinely like certain American words such as nix, moxie and jonesing, and I prefer their defrenchified pronunciation of clique (click) and niche (nitch). Ladybug makes more sense than ladybird, liquor store is a superior title to off-license and math is as good an abbreviation as maths (or mafz as the children like to say it). When attempting to communicate I often deliberating mispronounce words in order to be understood, and I am not averse to replacing -ise with -ize or dropping the u from colour to please my US spell-checker. Nevertheless the conclusion I came to was not that I was becoming American, but rather that I was so utterly set in my ways that I no longer feared becoming anything other than that which I am (a simultaneously reassuring and depressing thought). In any case, my skin still crawls to hear "surrealistic" used as a synonym for surreal, sports coaches described as "winningest", apologies in the form of "my bad" and - most pretentiously on my part - calzone pronounced kal-zone and not kalt-zo-nay.

Winters are grey and seemingly endless in Portland; yet every February without fail we're granted one weekend of divine splendour. Sunday took us to the beach at Lincoln City, sixty degrees and sunny, Ethan running up and down the shoreline, exhausting himself. This was, surprisingly, his first trip to the Pacific Ocean, and his first trip to the beach since he became ambulatory. He worked up an appetite too, consuming a pile of (tortilla) chips, 12oz milk, some chicken and an entire avocado pear for lunch. After that he was in no mood to run and insisted on being carried, "Up! Up!" he exclaimed. And he's getting a bit big for that.

Ethan skips along the shoreline.

Rachel stands at the brink.

There was something very winnie-the-pooh about him that day...