The "Playstation"

Public transportation in Cambridge is not very convenient for me. I live in a place where the city buses do not pass through, and the only way I can get on a bus is to walk about 15 to 20 minutes to the nearest bus station. Cycling would be much faster, but Aya doesn’t have a bicycle yet (and she hasn’t really perfected her biking skills yet). And I’m really not that ready to introduce my daughter to the big, bad world of cycling here in Cambridge. I’ve witnessed firsthand two accidents involving cyclists in my almost two months of stay here. The streets here are just too narrow and the cycling paths are right smack on the road.

Anyway, I’ve become quite a frequent customer of taxis-for-hire here. I just call them up to book a taxi, and within minutes of my call, the taxi will pick me up from wherever I am and take me to my destination.

Getting the taxi is fairly simple. The only problem is talking to the receptionist who takes the calls. Sometimes the person speaks with a very strong accent, I could barely understand what he or she is saying. I consider myself as a highly fluent English speaker, but sometimes I just have difficulty understanding their words, especially when spoken with a very heavy accent.

One time, I ordered for a taxi and instructed them to bring the taxi to the bus stop where we got off. The guy on the other line told me, "No, the taxi couldn’t come to the bus stop, that’s only reserved for buses. You’ll have to go to the playstation."

I said, "I’m sorry, but did you say ‘playstation’?" All the while I was racking my brains for what exactly "playstation" meant. Playstation? A place for playing? Or perhaps a Sony Playstation area?

If I could only see the expression on the guy’s face, he was probably shaking his head or rolling his eyes. But politely he spoke slowly, "I meant the poh-leys station."

Poh-leys station?

And then it occurred to me. He was probably referring to the "police station." I didn’t know the area, so I wouldn’t know if there’s a police station nearby or not. But by then I was pretty sure that that was what he meant, so I just asked him where exactly the poh-leys station was. He said it was right across the road.

I crossed the road and promptly located the police station. The taxi appeared minutes later. You could just imagine how grateful I was that I was at the right spot!

Dude, if you meant the poh-leeze station (which is how I would pronounce it), I’d have figured it in no time. 😀

Well, what else can I say? Welcome to Britain, my dear. How are you to-die?

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2 Responses to The "Playstation"

  1. this is so funny and can very well relate to your experience. once, told a cabbie to take me to leicester square. with a stiff upper lip, tried faking my british accent and pronounced it as
    “lai- ces- tuh”. he gave me a puzzled look so i took out my map and showed him the place. it’s “lestuh” he said. nakakahiya. magpanggap ba namang briton, mali naman ang pronunciation? haha. and in paris, was asking for direction to the eiffel tower (“ay-fel” tower as we say it in english), i got the same dopey look from the locals until the last one enunciated it as “toor efel”. crazy europeans,no? but am glad to know you’re getting by. do you think it will be snowing there this year? regards to aya and the hubby.

  2. kathy says:

    Charles! Thanks for sharing your hilarious anecdotes. I actually had the same mistake – I thought that one pronounces Gloucester as “glu-ces-ter” but my cousin immediately corrected me and said it was “glus-ter.” Buti na lang she told me, before I made an ass of myself with anybody else! 😀

    I’m not sure it will be snowing here – as they say, it only snows once or twice in Cambridge, sometimes none at all.

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