I love English. It just satisfies my soul. American English, Australian English, British English. English from around the world.
British English comes in handy. I can use the vulgarisms and not feel the least inclination to blush. Nor will anyone around me take me to task for unacceptable language.
British television is such a gold mine of language. Not Downton Abbey. So far their only exclamation has been “Crikey” and that only twice. Plus it’s not really an expletive – I don’t think. I could Google it and the other words to find out how they translate into American English, but then I’d know what they mean and I might be constrained against using them freely.
Doc Martin is a better source. The Portwenn folk call him all kinds of things. And I understand why. He doesn’t have the best bedside manner. He seems usually to take it in stride, though. No doubt he’s used to it.
A couple of weeks ago one young patient, a lad of maybe nine or ten, went off on Doctor Martin Ellingham.
“You’re the W word,” he shouted adding “and the T word and the Zed word.”
Doc Martin stopped in his tracks and asked the young man “What’s the Zed word?”
My husband translated, “wanker and tosser.” He knows his Britishisms better than I, but he didn’t know what the Zed word was either.
Today is the last day of the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge and I hope it is the last one of its kind for me. It has been difficult.
My uncle told my father that the Veteran’s Administration will provide him with dentures at no cost to him. And being a naturally thrifty man, he wanted to get new dentures through them. Daddy was in the Navy in World War II, so it seemed possible.
He has some cognition problems and doesn’t walk long distances well so I took on the task of trying to enroll him for VA benefits. There’s an office not far from out home, so I gathered his Discharge papers, my Durable Power of Attorney papers, his 2014 Income Tax information and went to that office.
Today wasn’t a particularly busy day for them so my wait was about forty-five minutes. I had John Lescroart’s Hunt Club with me – on my e-reader which fits nicely in my purse. Then the customer service guy very kindly told me they don’t do that or medical care eligibility there and that I would need to go to the VA Medical Center in downtown Denver.
So I did.
Denver is not the biggest town I’ve ever driven in. Dallas and Houston are bigger. Los Angeles is bigger still. But I was younger then and very nearly invincible.
There are one-way streets, so you don’t want to make a wrong turn or you may not find your way back to the street you’re looking for. And traffic is high volume made up of drivers who know where they want to go and are not patient with the likes of me. But I got there.
And parking in Downtown Denver is difficult to find. I was pleased to find that the VA has a multistory parking garage. Finding the entrance is a little tricky but I got a parking place.
There were forms to fill out before I could see the Enrollment Officer. I filled them out as completely as I could. I got to one area that I had not planned for and tried to call my husband so he could get the information for me. I knew exactly where it was, but my phone wasn’t working. It had been working, but not anymore. I decided to go ahead and get in line. My ticket was 150 and they were serving 148 so my wait couldn’t be very long.
The waiting area was filled with people waiting for the Lab, a different number scheme on their tickets. And they were much worse off than I. Old people with walkers and on oxygen. Young people in wheelchairs. The thirty-something man who sat next to me smelled of tobacco smoke and I knew he must be more stressed than I was.
Again I read, avoiding eye-contact with the other waiting people who avoided eye-contact with me. Everybody there was having a long day and chit chat with strangers would not make it any easier.
After a shorter wait than some there, the Enrollment Officer called my number and asked “What can we do for you today?”
I told him my father needed new dentures and he stopped me right there. He didn’t look at the incomplete forms.
“We only provide dentures if the veteran has a service connected injury that causes him to need dentures.” He apologized for any inconvenience my drive downtown may have caused and called the next ticket “One-fifty-one.”
Backing out of my parking place I accidentally hit the rear bumper of a car parked behind me. It was the plastic bumper cars have and it was just scuffed. At first we couldn’t really tell which car it was I’d backed into. Those parking garages are so dark.
A VA policeman was johnny on the spot. But it took a bit to get some help there to direct traffic. You wouldn’t believe how many cars go in and out of that parking garage. And, of course, my vehicle was blocking one lane.
It took a while for all the paperwork and photographs and discussion about whether to let me go and them notify the owners of the victim car or keep me there until the owners returned. (They were somewhere in that great rabbit warren of a hospital.)
They did let me go, saying they would write it up as “Improper Backing.” Well, no duh. If I’d backed properly I wouldn’t have bumped into that car.
Traffic was a nightmare, I was shaky from the parking garage experience, and I’d never driven on those particular streets before. I knew my way home lay to the west, toward the mountains. The thing is, you can’t see the mountains from down there for all the big buildings and trees.
I stopped and got my phone fixed and finally made it safely home.
I may not know what the Zed word is, but I surely did have a Zed-word kind of day.