Can you paint with all the colours? – #SoCS

The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “color/colour.” Use it as a noun, a verb, or pick a color and write about it–use it any way you like.

I can code-switch with the best of them.

Try me.

And for the longest time, I thought it was a bad thing. I thought I was a chameleon, uncertain of my own Self as I adapted behavior, accent, pronunciation, time and date formats, metric conversions, etc. I wondered if I was just trying to “fit in” and “be liked”.

And, of course, yes, I was.

But it wasn’t fake or ill-intentioned. I considered it (and still do) a form of showing cultural respect. I HATE being the “ugly American” who assumes everyone in the world uses Imperial measurements (no one does) and is pissed off when meeting someone in a small Mexican town who doesn’t understand English. I mean, really?

So just this morning, I was chatting with an Aussie friend, I greeted him with a “G’day”, shared my birthday in the “3 June 1968” format, discussed weight loss in “kilos” versus “pounds”, and made sure I was aware that it was nearing his bedtime, as he is 14 hours ahead of my time zone.

When talking with my Canadian friends, I am likely to use their spellings (colour, favour, centre) and pronunciations (“SHedule” and “PROH-cess”).

When interacting with my international counterparts at work, I ask if they use a 12 or 24 hour clock and adjust accordingly. If you don’t know what I’m even talking about with that, you may have some work to do.

Or not.

Not everyone needs to be a code-switcher. You can insist on using your comfortable conventions with people who may or may not understand you – that’s your right. But I’m finding more and more that people’s “rights” are often “code” (Ha!) for lazy and/or self-centred (HA!).

So, call me a chameleon if you wish. I know who I am. And in general, I find that people appreciate and respect my attempts to adjust to THEIR conventions, at least to a point. To my workmates in India and The Philippines, if I could speak to you fluently in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, or Filipino/Tagalog, I would. I once aspired to being truly multilingual, but at this point, I’m not sure how many new tricks this old dog can learn…

Short of that, on this 24 July 2021, I hope you appreciate what colour I can provide, along with the occasional Kamusta ka na kaibigan?

I think and hope it makes a difference.

#SoCS comes from the website of Linda G. Hill.

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s