I used to be a good speller. Please note the tense of that sentence. Sadly, I now find myself constantly second guessing how words should be spelled. Your first instinct might be to attribute this to the aging process. But that would only be if you are an American or Canadian. If you are British you will be attributing it to the ageing process. Therein lies the problem.
Canadian, American and British spellings are not uniform even though we all speak the same language. At least we are supposed to be speaking the same language. However, that lorry driver from Glasgow that Jay and I hitched a ride with when we were in Britain back in 1980 didn't seem to be aware of this fact. Nor did whoever was doing the announcements at Victoria Train Station in London. I digress.
When I blogged about my friend and I going on a yarn crawl in Vancouver should I have referred to it as our fibre day or our fiber day? If I use fiber as the spelling readers from around the globe will assume I am an American. If I spell the word as fibre Americans will assume I don't know how to spell. Litre/liter and theatre/theater would be examples of other words that fall into this category.
For many years after moving North of 49 I resisted using Canadian spellings. In what I considered to be a compromise I did teach my kids both versions and let them use whichever one they wanted. My line in the sand was the word for mother. I had grown up with a mom, and there was no way I could become a mum. On the other hand my husband grew up with a mum and to this day I think he struggles when saying the "o" word.
Please humour me by allowing me to illustrate another difference. And if you can't do that could you at least humor me by allowing another illustration? The our/or word ending difference is perhaps the biggest category and includes words like colour/color, honour/honor, neighbour/neighbor and rumour/rumor.
If the differences stopped there I would have been okay. Unfortunately they don't and I'm not. For instance, a month ago I got a renewal notice in the mail for my driver's licence. This being a word I don't often use my brain is still imprinted with the word license. At this point I'm so confused I can almost feel my grey matter shrinking. Ditto for my gray matter. And because I will be travelling across the border frequently I decided to get my enhanced driver's licence, which is supposed to be good for traveling to and from the US and Canada.
Perhaps most confusing of all is the fact that the presence of a monarch on our coins is no guarantee of strict allegiance to British spellings. If your child gets sick it doesn't matter if you are north or south of 49. You will seek out a pediatrician. Cross the Atlantic however and you will find yourself in search of a paediatrician.
I hope my Canadian and American readers will realize the difficulties that face a "made in the USA" brain that has been "outsourced to Canada." I hope my British readers will realise the same thing. If you see the occasional glaring spelling error please refrain from judgment. I already get enough judgement from my spell checker.