Background Noise

I’ve written about this before, but it’s hit me again: after a month in non-English speaking countries (2 weeks in Portugal, 2 weeks in Copenhagen) we’ve re-entered the world of our native language here in Dublin, and the effect is occasionally overwhelming. Who knew that it took so much effort to process the background chit-chat in public spaces — coffee? no, that’s too big! Billy, come here right now, and take that frog out of your mouth.

The characters in the 3D movie at LegoLand, being citizens of the world, speak a sort of Sims-like rumble that’s not in any language that anyone speaks; for two weeks our background noise has been just like that: a pleasant foreign singsong that means nothing to us. Now, all of a sudden, we understand everything. It’s weird.

Meanwhile, I’m sneezing up a storm. Catherine maintains that I’m simply allergic to bad airplane air, but I think I’m allergic to the European spring, as my symptoms started a couple of days ago in Copenhagen. Usually I can get a respite from the ick by drinking a strong cup of tea, but Irish tea, at least in my limited experience, is dreadful. I’m not sure whether it’s the water or the bags (universally Tetley) or the milk or the sugar, but they form a toxic brew together.

We’re here in Dublin for the day, then flying to Boston, by way of Philadelphia, tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. With any luck the pollens of North America will be different enough to let me slide back into my regular healthy state; in the meantime the endless din will continue.

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