"I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves." Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Queen's English

Because of his English parentage—his father was an English-born professor who taught history at UCLA and his mother a West-end Londoner who had scraped her way into the journalism profession and had written for the Guardian, before marrying Buck’s father and moving to LA---Buck had the faint accent of someone who sounded like they grew up in California, but who occasionally let slip a phrase in “the received pronunciation,” the Queen’s English.

Occasionally, while traveling, Buck had been mistaken for a Brit or in some cases, a Canadian. The latter mistake, on one occasion, had saved his life, when he had been on assignment in a region of the world where American journalists were universally thought to be agents of the CIA.

From time to time, Buck unconsciously let slip a word or a phrase that made him sound as if he were an announcer on the BBC. And oddly, he occasionally heard others speak, as if they too, were speaking to him with an English accent, when in fact they weren’t--he listened with an "English ear”

This would explain why, when he called Jackie to ask her for a second date—preferably one not involving auto theft----he wasn’t sure if Jackie had said, “I warned you” or if she had said, “I want you.”

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