I’m hooked on British mysteries. It started with the great Agatha Christie many, many years ago. I even hear the English lilt and accents in my head as I read.
The British idioms and adages have apparently seeped into my own. Just not always in the right way. I get the meaning but the nuances frequently elude me.
For example, I know what a one-off is in British terms. It means something that will happen only one time. As in: “That murder was a one-off. We don’t have a serial killer on our hands here.”
And so, when dear friends, whom we hadn’t seen for a while, nicely and considerately, asked about my breast cancer and mastectomy of a couple of years ago, I replied, a bit sassily, that I appreciated their concern but not to worry. That it was just a one-off.
Conversation stopped. Eyebrows went up. I got strange looks. And then, like the baby who gets a shot but takes two seconds to realize what happened, I understood. I got it. I knew what I meant but my audience heard something else entirely. We laughed our way through the misunderstanding. And then we laughed some more.
I suggested that they read British mysteries. They suggested I stick to my native language.
Those laughs were definitely not one-offs. They’ll continue until we can’t.
Image of new British thrillers thanks to crimeread.com