Lost In Translation?

Occasionally, I make rather odd requests to my friends, today was no exception:

“Ok, I just need you to say, ‘Hi my name is Paul‘ and then ‘Hi, my name is Robbie‘ in your Scottish accent really quick.”


“I’m wondering if there is any chance I could have heard the name Paul when someone said Robbie instead.”

“Ok. Hi my name is Paul. Hi my name is Robbie”

“Yeah, no way do they sound alike.”

“No they dinnae”

One of these days, I’ll get back to sharing stories about getting my butt kicked by newborn bovines or how great I am at nursing baby lambs and doing stuff around farms. But, somehow, all of my entries lately have been nostalgic of my days working as a dating columnist. I think that’s because although my age, career, time zone and opinions regarding the best time to drink a hot cup of English Breakfast tea (all the times!) have changed, some things, specifically my dismal hand-eye coordination, gigantic shoe size, and uncanny ability to almost-but-not-quite-actually-date people have all remained exactly the same.

Actually, it’s probably best I focus on writing about my “dating life” instead of vet school because, now that my clinical extra mural studies have started, my stories are less about funny farm antics and more about sponge bathing diarrhoea off a dog’s rear end. It’s glamorous, I know.

So back to the Paul/Robbie name debate. Something unexpected and kinda funny happened today: I realized I may have made out with the wrong handyman. Since the cake and kissing incident with J, I have seen him numerous times, during which he has had ample opportunity to compliment my superior culinary skills and kissing technique, but has done neither. He’s so dead to me.

However, J isn’t doing all the work in the flat next door alone, there’s been a team of guys working there, remodelling the whole place. One of these guys is Paul Joiner. (*Note – a “joiner” is like a “carpenter.” You’re welcome, North America.) Paul Joiner is tall and blonde and probably thinks I need help or guidance or a mentor or a boyfriend well-versed in local knowledge. I can’t entirely disagree with him as he has caught me leaving my door open before when I was taking the dog out for a walk in the morning. A true gentleman, Paul Joiner guarded my ajar door until I returned to ensure that no super-keen thief was going to rob my third floor walk up 7:50 am. He then informed me that I had left my door open, but in the polite British way of doing so, apologized and used passive voice as to not assign blame: “I’m sorry, I just noticed your door was somehow left slightly open.” As I am adapting to the UK lifestyle, I responded in turn, with an apology, “Oh, sorry about that, I’ll be more careful next time, thanks.” (*Note: I do apologize now, for EVERYTHING.) Sorry I’m not sorry about always saying I’m sorry.

Well, Paul Joiner and I have seen each other a few times, I always say hello and usually apologize for something, like having to walk around the ladder he stuck in the middle of my hallway (don’t ask me why I apologize for that, maybe a Canadian could explain this better?)  Well, today,  I asked to borrow a hammer so I could fix some cheap Ikea picture frames in my flat. Paul Joiner said the hammer was already loaded into the van downstairs, but he was happy to run down and get it for me. Six flights of stairs later, he returned with the hammer. I did my hammering and gave it back.

Paul Joiner then told me that they were done in the flat across the hall. I invited myself in and gave my approval for how much better it looked. Then, I told him to have a nice day and went back to my flat.

A few minutes later, Paul Joiner knocked on my door. He told me again they were all done. I validated his good work again, smiled and said bye.

Then, I get another knock on the door. Paul Joiner was there holding a sponge. He apologized and asked me if I had a bin and could throw the sponge away for him as he had just finished using it to wipe everything down in the flat because they were all done working. I said sure and took the sponge, possibly apologizing for my bin being in the kitchen instead of readily anticipating his need to dispose of said sponge. It’s getting harder to keep track of all the “sorry’s” I’ve started to drop.

Some more small talk ensued after Paul Joiner caught a glimpse of my cat, but I ultimately wished him luck and shut the door.

One more knock on the door. I opened it again and this time Paul Joiner handed me a piece of paper with a number on it and asked if he could leave his number with me in case I needed any joinery work. I said sure. Paul Joiner then asked for my number, which I happily gave him.

We then said goodbye for possibly the 8th time that day. I may have apologized for something else again, at this point, I can’t remember.

In the end, I decided I was flattered by the attention from Paul Joiner and should encourage it a little bit to see if he really was just looking for more business. I sent him a message:


I was puzzled. I checked the number  – I hadn’t copied it down wrong. None of the numbers were even printed in that “is this a 5 or a 2” serial killer/brain surgeon penmanship.

I wondered if maybe Robbie was another guy working on the flat and if Paul had given me his work number, but written one of the numbers incorrectly as sometimes coworkers all have very similar phone numbers.

Out of curiosity, I googled the number. It was tied to a landscaping company in a town I had never heard of before outside of London.

I put the number into Facebook and found Robbie who lives in that town just outside of London.

Curiouser and curiouser. I then started to look for joiners in Edinburgh named Paul so I could see if their contact number was similar.

I didn’t understand. Did he give me the wrong number on purpose? Was it some sort of a prank? Was his name Robbie? Did he, in fact, work for a landscaping company in England even though he said he was from Edinburgh and he didn’t look a thing like the Robbie I found on Facebook? What was going on? If he was going to give me a fake number, why did he approach me to give me the number and ask for my number? Things were not adding up. I couldn’t make any sense of them and it was driving me crazy.

Then, I GOT A GRIP.  Paul asked for my number, too. If he wanted, he could get ahold of me a lot easier than I could get ahold of him.

The end.

Or is it?

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN *Suspenseful music plays as I exit stage left.*


About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
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