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bizgirl

international librarian of mystery

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Ear Conditioning

I have the most shocking New Zild accent. Working in a public library I try to talk as 'proper' and clearly as I possibly can, especially when dealing with the increasingly large number of patrons who don't speak English well, but, sometimes my vowels just morph together into a mass of dipthongs and random noises created by my tongue falling over my teeth.

Yesterday I was on reference when a guy about my age came up to the desk.

"Excuse me, I'm looking for a book that will explain the various types of air conditioning."

He had a very pleasant English accent - a bit posh. Very nice.

"Ear conditioning?"
"No, air conditioning. My ears are in fine condition."
"Ear?"
"Umm, air."
"Ear."
"Haha. Nearly. Can you hear it? Ear. Air."
"Err. Err."
"No, you're losing it now."

I laughed at myself, and suggested we just look it up. Having found some likely hits, I took him to the right shelf and let him browse for himself. I spent the rest of my shift silently voicing the words to myself: 'Air'. 'Ear'.

I cannot, for the life of me, discern the difference between them.