Lifestyle

Interestingly American

“Your outfit is interesting,”she said. I thanked her.
“Your are wearing an interesting cap,” he said. I thanked him.
“The curry tastes interesting,” they said. I was delighted at the compliment.
Little did I know!

The Oxford English dictionary defines ‘Interesting’ as, arousing curiosity or interest; holding or catching the attention. So, a debate is interesting; traveling is interesting and you can be interested in learning art. In India, that’s how I had always used it. And that’s what I thought it meant.

Alas!
Since I moved to New York, I realized that people use the word, where I didn’t understand it to belong. Like once, I went shopping with a colleague and asked if she liked the purse I was considering buying. “Hmm. It’s interesting,” she said, while holding up another purse, she continued, “However, I think this would look better.”

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Another time as I was prepping for a parent teacher conference with my co-teacher, lets call her Ella. She paused to evaluate some disturbing, violent writing by a young child. “That’s interesting,” said Ella. But no it really was not! What it was, was disturbing.

Yet another time, I went to the farmer’s market and was asked how the awful tasting cheese sample I had tried was. Before I could answer a blond, came by, tasted the same cheese and had the same question popped to her.  “Interesting,” she said and ran the hell away from the cheese no mortal should ever be made to try.

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Whattt? I thought! Interesting is the best out.
It’s a word that means so much more in the American language.
It means, ‘I cannot stand the purse you want and think you would be mush better off if you never went purse shopping!”
It means, ‘Your work is so disturbing, you should probably write for action movies! But then again- you are only 6!’
It means, ‘your cheese sucks and I do not like it, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Interesting is the most interesting word and is everything but really interesting.
Which is why, in a conversation of a bunch of young girl, you will often hear, “No! Seriously! Tell me what you really think.”

I spoke English growing up, but now I realize that, this deceptive word meant a totally different thing here in America. A few years ago, one of my elementary students asked me, “Ms. Tara, when did you learn to speak American?” Which I realized was a new thing for me, “Oh my dear! I am still learning. I am still learning.”

When I was told that my outfit and cap were interesting, I really should have been upset. I really should have been annoyed. And when I was told that the curry that, I’d made was ‘freakin interesting,’ I should have been mad as hell! But, then, I was only speaking English and was happily unaware.

f48236bc94139193426e7a7999f50fb2My Take–

  1. English is not the same everywhere.
    Read books by American authors , listen to podcasts or news broadcasts and of course movies, and T.V.
  2. If you use a word incorrectly. Take it in your stride.
  3. Be open. Learn. One type of English is not better or more superior.
    It is simply a means of getting your work done.
  4. If you do not understand something someone said, don’t feel shy about asking them to explain.
  5. Learn to speak and write in American-
    People understand you faster, you will not have to repeat your self, you will feel included in conversations.
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