On any given day, there are several “me’s” crashing into each other, trying to get through each 24-hour period. There’s primarily Mommy-me, Wifey-me, WorkerBee-me, and Always-available-when-teachers-call-me.
There’s also Jamaican-me and American-me, which frequently overlap at any given time.
What frequently happens when I have to switch between dialects, is that my words get lost in translation. At home, I speak with a Jamaican accent and lots of patois. But when I interact with non-Jamaicans, it must be in perfect English. If I get too comfortable speaking to non-Jamaicans, the old patois will burst forth, especially if I’ve just finished speaking to an old friend. The other day at work, for instance, I hung up the phone after speaking to my husband and called out to my cube-mate:
“Oi, Kim How me nuh see de AP accrual inna de munt-en’ close foldah?”
Poor Kim looked at me like I was the craziest person ever. “Cheryll, what was that?” she asked.
That’s when I realized I was still speaking in patois. I laughed and said:
“Sorry, Kim, I just wanted to know if you did the AP accrual.“
Of course, I continue to have momentary lapses from time to time.