Pam and I ran into W at a party. W is one of Pam’s friends and I’d met W once before at another gathering. After I spoke a couple of sentences, W looked at me with a puzzled expression. She then said “Did you always have an accent? Did you have an accent when we met?”
When we said “Yes” to both, W wondered aloud why she hadn’t notice my accent before. I didn’t know W that well at the time, so I didn’t say “When we met, I was surrounded by a bunch of women drinking in a loud bar and couldn’t get a word in edgewise.” W hadn’t heard my accent because I hadn’t had a chance to say anything.
I got a call at work. I answered with my name and waited for whoever to answer back. There was a long pause before X finally said “I’m sorry. Your accent threw me. You don’t look like you have an accent.
But X was on the phone. She wasn’t looking at me.
I got this story third-hand. Some folks were talking about me for whatever reason and one of them mentioned that I was born in England. This surprised Y: “Steve was born in England!?”
Z was unimpressed: “Well, duh!”
I’m not sure why Z figured it out but Y didn’t. Y and Z have known me for the same amount of time and I rarely see one without the other. My only guess is that Y had heard that I’d lived in Canada, assumed that I was born there, and that I had a weirder than usual Canadian accent.