The first time is at MacDonald’s in Greenwich, NY. Dee and I are heading to Saratoga for some higher state taxed shopping. We pull in for a cup of joe.
“You have to use an accent when ordering” she commands. The challenge reaches deep into my soul, the soul of a secret agent.
Quickly I run through possibilities, Miss Jane Hathaway from “The Beverly Hillbillies”, the Swedish chef from the Muppets, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne? So many options. I play it safe as a Pepe Le Peu. “Pleazzze, donnez-moi, Errrrr, how you say coffee garcon.” Mission obviously accomplished as Dee tries not to wet her pants laughing.
A few years later while shopping in a town with lower tax rates, Dee requires a coke with crushed ice. As I pull up to the intercom she instructs, “Use an accent.”
Like Jason Bourne or James Bond, there are some assignments you can’t turn down. It’s in our blood.
My brain goes into tactic mode. A foreign person or tv star? Relative or people we know? I opt for the voice of an Irish woman who spent the last 20 years in the Italian part of Scotland.
Gosh I’m good.
Mission is successful as I notice Dee squirming not to laugh. She presses the dollar bill and dime on my leg.
“You have to keep it going” she says while trying to regain control.
“Hey, I’m a professional” I whisper back.
As we pull up to the window a sweet, cherub faced boy says “Here is your drink”. He gives me a look that says “You don’t sound like me, you are from elsewhere, I’m going to make you feel AOK.” His evident kindness causes me to drop my guard and the dime.
“Ach and begorrah mien leibchen”, I say moving to the German side of my beloved Scotland.
“Just leave it, don’t worry, it happens all the time” he says.
“Nay I’ll find the wee coin” I reply followed by “Ow f*ck”, in an undeniable Vermont accent as I hit my head against the door. Cherub boy looks slightly confused. I should have said “feck”.
“You broke character” Dee says, unnecessarily as we drive away. Like I didn’t know.
Using accents at the drive through is like practicing arm balances in yoga class. It’s setting an intention, focusing, and giving it all you’ve got. It’s accepting a challenge. Sometimes you nail it and sometimes you don’t.
Life is filled with challenges, ones we ask of ourselves, ones asked by others and some that just appear. The remedy is to do our best, be kind to ourselves and to others, be forgiving. Find delight and laughter in all of our experiences.
A botched or aborted mission doesn’t equate to failure. It is a source of information for the next assignment. Focus and attention take practice on and off the mat. Sometimes you need to imagine yourself balancing with ease or speaking in someone else’s native tongue. It’s setting an intention. Keep at it.
Namaste- this post will self destruct in 30 seconds eh?