It looks like Twitter is on its last legs. Apparently the offices are locked for the weekend, and employees have resigned en masse.
I will miss the hellsite. Twitter is like sanitary pads with wings: once you start using them, you can’t imagine how you ever lived without them (yet you did, most of your teenage years, you did). I took to Twitter reluctantly after seven years of pretty much only blogging. I’ve meet some cool people there. Mastodon is nice, but just very different. Feels pretty lonely. You can’t really stumble upon interesting conversations they way you can on Twitter. I dread moving to Instagram, the other location many writers are flocking to.
Ugh. Just ugh.
Anyway, in less differently depressing news:
If you share a passing interaction with someone and notice they have a foreign accent, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, ask them where they are from.
It doesn’t matter how curious or fascinated by accents you are. Leave them alone. If you care at all about their comfort, you will swallow your curiosity and treat them as you would anyone local until the brief interaction ends.
Why? Because they keep getting asked that question all the fucking time and it’s alienating and aggravating.
Exhibit A (6 pm yesterday):
This was a 5-min parent-teacher conference that my husband and I attended over Zoom. Within 2 min, the teacher asked us where we were from and proceeded to talk about how she’d never traveled there but would love to, and asked if it was closer than country A or country B. My husband humored her, because he’s way nicer than I am. However, because of this bullshit I didn’t have time to ask some questions about the kid’s AP exam.
Exhibit B (9:30 am today):
I am at a car dealership, dropping off my car for maintenance. I am talking to the service guy. Another random guy passes by (I’m not even talking to him).
Random Guy: So where are you from?
Me: *tries to decide whether or not to spill blood on the pristine dealership floors* I’ve been here awhile. I’m from here now.
RG: But I hear you! (Congrats, RG, you possess ears)
Me: *mumbles murderously* Yeah, well.
RG: *grins* Welcome to America!
He welcomed me to America. I’ve been here 23 years. I am a citizen. Tell me this isn’t meant to be fucking alienating.
Having an accent is not quite like having a huge scar across your face, because most people stare, but don’t dare ask how you got it.
Having an accent is like being perpetually pregnant. For the rest of your life people will ask you if you’re having a boy or a girl, then proceed to touch your belly.
No, it’s not the same as someone from Ohio asking someone from Louisiana where they’re from.
If you care at all about the comfort of people who were clearly not born in the US, just fucking leave them alone. Your curiosity doesn’t have the right to their life story when you share a 10-second interaction.
What else is new, blogosphere? What’s going on with you?
I was born in the US to parents who speak pretty much only English. I have had two weird experiences on that front:
1) I moved to Chicago for my PhD from Oregon and met someone – they asked where I was from, I said Oregon and they said, “But you speak English so well!”
2) I was wandering around my neighborhood in Chicago and the owner of a shop asked me where my accent was from and I said the west coast? And he said he thought I was European.
I have an accent (born abroad). I answer the same way you do, I live here now, I am from here. I have about 50% success rate with that. Once during a flight a gentleman sitting beside me asked me the dreaded “were are you from” question. I lived in NM at the time, so that was my answer. he exclaimed triumphantly, “oh that’s why you have an accent! Your English is very good!” The best part of the story is that we were on a flight from Albuquerque when this conversation happened.
If Twitter dies this weekend, it will be the most pointless waste of $44 billion since, well, a typical week at the Department of Defense.