The other day I asked the boy if he knew what a queue was?
He said, “No, what is it?”
Imagine his confusion.
He’s from China. He learned his English from an Aussie. Now, he lives in America. In “the South”.
In China, queuing up, as in waiting in line, is not just an adventure, it’s a job. No one can escape it. Chinese people expect the line to move and won’t stand still for an American digging through
his or her bag for cash
However, there could be some confusion if you learned from an actual Brit that a line is a queue, then someone shows you a old picture of an Chinese man with a long braid. That braid is called a queue. Same spelling.
Then you move to America. And a good thing too, because God made you to be a carnivore and he put you in the south where we like our beef, pork, and chicken barbecued. And because it isn’t a delicacy limited only to the upper crust(what an ugly thing to say. Crust.), It couldn’t have been a word for very many years until some person, who hasn’t had all the advantages you and I have had, shortened it to Bar-b-que. Bar-b-que, was soon shortened. Unfortunately, for a boy who’d really just rather be playing cards, it was shortened to… Wait for it…
As it that weren’t enough, one Saturday or Sunday afternoon, the TV is on and there is someone playing billiards. You don’t say? Yes, that’s right, it’s competition. If there is one thing the child will tune in for it is competition. (He’d stand still and watch the race to the applesauce in the rest home dining room.) He wanted to know every thing about pool. First off, of course, the stick… its name? I don’t need to tell you…
He sat in Theatre class all last year. Learning all manner of theatrical terms. I guess that’s my cue.
It’s a brave child, indeed, who’ll go to the trouble to ask what a word means, and accept the answer, no matter how bizarre.