Soda and Wahtah


When I was merely a visitor from New York, I was very fish out of water (ummm wah-tah – in my case). I’d go with my then girlfriend (now wife) Denise, to various Michigan cafes and diners (one has table cloths, the other doesn’t) and order up some food. Almost every time the waitperson (whom I know now NOT to tip – thanks to Melissa’s advice) would offer up a befuddled look, doubtlessly thinking (“What the heck did he just order?”) and they’d always look to Denise for translation help. “Oh, he wants a pop and a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich on rye toast,” always adding (helpfully), “He’s from New York…” And as if that removed any shroud of confusion, they’d force me into the SAYTHIS SAY THAT game, whereupon I’d now be performing by saying strange and curious words like: COFFEE and the ultra bizarre WATER.

Sure, it’s true, Out-East (a phrase that is completely alien to NYers because there isn’t anything east of us – other than France…) we may have a special way of talking (tawk’n) but I attribute all of the novelty to the fifty years of mobster/gangster movies screened across America and into the minds of midwesterners like you (yeah, YOU).

“Yeah, Mugsy, pump him fulla lead.” and “a sweet dame like you, youse got nice gams.”

Where was I, in the middle of Bangladesh with a trusty translator by my side?! What about all of the strange things mid-westerners say? Oh, you claim you don’t have an accent? Well what about the Detroit-Speak which my sensitive ears must wrap around:

While moseying my dog downriver eyes came acrosst two lil tykes play

5 Comments so far

  1. MGal (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 7:39 am

    For the record, I never said YOU shouldn’t tip. I asked when did it become mandatory. Tipping is supposed to be a voluntary recognition of good service.

    That said – what is east of you NY-ers is New England and Maine in particular…

  2. WanderingMonkey (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 8:22 am

    i have never said “lookit”

    but in ypsitucky…….

  3. Jeppy (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 8:43 am

    Maine is, in fact, “east of New York” – but only if I first go North… If I were to wade out into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean (which I’ve done many times despite Jaws, Jaws-1, Jaws-2, and Jaws-3D) and swim east… I’d not touch a single pebble of Maine or New England.

    …distracted… I’m a little famished, anyone have some american cheddar singles in the plastic wrapping?

  4. ed (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 8:53 am

    My father has put up with this for the past 35 years while living in Michigan (he’s originally from the Bronx). He has always been hassled coming over the Windsor-Detroit border. Yes, there are actually people who think a NY accent sounds ‘foreign’.

  5. Jeppy (unregistered) on October 26th, 2005 @ 9:00 am

    Foreign, indeed. You should hear how they tawk up in Maine…

    Here’s an example…

    I’m driving on Route-1, looking for a particularly tasty lobster restaurant. I see a “local” beside the road and ask him: “if I take this [road] up a few miles, will I hit Bubbas Lobsta Grille?”

    To which the Mainer, who is quite economical with his words replied: “Should.” ( pronounced: Shooooood )

    Funny thing is, the more “down-east” you go in Maine, the worse it gets, “Shooooood” becomes “Shoo” after a while…

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