It’s the way you say it.
Into town for a coffee, bitterly cold. I need to acknowledge that winter is really here and kit myself with the full rig of hat, gloves and thermals. The sun is deceptive and I walk so slowly these days with my stick that I can practically here the icicles forming.
Walking past an Indian restaurant, they’re advertising a new chicken dish – ‘drenched in onions and throbbing with spices’. I think about how easy it is to get English completely wrong.
Into the coffee shop and an elderly man opens the door. We both have sticks, but his natural courtesy trumps my reluctance to go through the door first. He gives me a big smile and encourages me through in a very broad local accent.
The cafe is full of toddlers with hacking coughs. I get that Mums want to go out for a bit of relief but my immune system is twitching like crazy. One of those coughs would lay me low for weeks. The young woman who serves me says, “there you are sweetie”. I seem to have joined the ranks of the seriously patronised.
Decide not to take offence, but that’s a slippery slope.