I really had no idea that not ‘getting with‘ the latest in language could be so detrimental and make you sound like an alien in front of the more informed crowd.
Until I met a similarly linguistically unequipped lady at a dinner.
Everyone was talking about teenagers chatting (read fornication in mum-speak) when she jumped into the conversation:
‘So,’ she says, ‘baitay you CANNOT imagine what happened to me the other day! Bhudda Admee (old man) and he send me an e-mail saying ‘Would you like to be my FRIEND’? I mean he’s 82 and no shame. None at all!’
The ladies around tut-tutted on cue. Mum did the biting-her-lower-lip-while-widening-her-eyes look (try it in the mirror. It’s very scary and chastising)
‘I mean,’ the lady carries on obviously reveling in the intense reaction this got, ‘ why would I want to say he is my friend on Facebook?’
‘Aunty,’ I say, ‘Facebook keeps everything very private so if you add someone in as a ‘friend’, only then can they see your pictures etc (not strictly true, but I can’t explain privacy settings to her at this point!). So maybe he sent it to everyone in his contact list from Hotmail.’
The lady looked down her nose at me, ‘I think I know what FRIEND means, baita. You don’t understand. He sent me an e-mail saying ‘XYZ would like to add you as a friend and it even had his picture with it!!! tauba tauba‘
‘Err, like a picture of his face? Those are there on Facebook’ (I was trying to simplify ‘profile picture’)
‘NO!’ she says, ‘a picture of him FISHING.’
I give up.