I always wanted to be British, even as a little guy. Probably for mostly superficial reasons. Like most of us I loved the accent, which can make a Cathy cartoon sound like Shakespeare. It was also their way of carrying themselves, always with an air of grace and culture (albeit with a dash of pretension). The castles definitely had something to do with it too.
Eventually I grew up to learn I was never gonna magically become one of them, no matter how much I dreamt of it. Or so I thought. My move to France has been sprinkled with plenty of unforeseen side effects, both good and bad, but one of the coolest is this one: I finally got my British accent!
How you might ask? Turns out when French people hear Americans or Brits speaking their language, the two accents are almost indistinguishable from one another. It’s common now for a cashier to assume I’m English during my purchases, and I’ve confirmed with other French friends that they all have difficulty recognizing the difference. As England is much closer geographically, it’s natural for a local to play the percentages and assume that’s where I’m from. Score.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to renounce my American citizenship. I mean, I’m still damn proud of what we’ve done with ground beef and 80’s pop music. But on the other hand, I’m not always quick to correct a stranger if they want to believe I’m British. Every little boy has a right to his fantasy, right?
Just thought I’d share a fun example of how a seemingly far-fetched wish can come true in a way you could’ve never seen coming. Now if you’d be so kind as to excuse me, I do believe it’s time for a spot of tea and a crumpet…