Earlier today, I came across this list of how you know you’re from Boston on Boston.com. Technically, I’m from Boston because I was born and spent my first two years here.
But my family moved several times, so I didn’t grow up in the area. My mom did her best to give us the Boston flavor by retaining her accent in a way that confused the elementary school students she taught to spell (“Oh, sorry, the word is caRRRRR”), and we all grew up to be, well, whatever we are having lived here, in the Midwest, and in the Mid-Atlantic.
Anyway, I just had to talk about some of my favorites on this list because I’ve found them to be so true; when I finally moved back here, I could tell I was really becoming a Bostonian when I felt these things click.
- Using rotaries: I hated these for a long time. All of the traffic just loops around, and if you’re on the inside and don’t know exactly where you’re going, you might as well accept the fact that you’re going to be stuck, possibly forever, in this seventh circle of hell while trying to get the oblivious jerk driving next to you to let you over. Then suddenly one day, I mastered rotaries, possibly by becoming that oblivious jerk…
- That whole letter R thing: As mentioned above, my mom still has the accent, but somehow I never picked it up. What I love however is that my kid uses it selectively. It seems like he only drops his Rs when he’s running around being silly and yelling about cars (one of his favorite things), but then every now and then, he’ll do it in regular conversation – though he hasn’t, so far, added the R to words where it doesn’t appear. I figure he’s getting this from one of his friends, who has a really strong accent, and one of his teachers. I’m interested to see if it sticks.
- Hating Jimmy Fallon’s attempt at a Boston accent: Really, since I grew up with a real one, I hate anyone’s attempt, except Julianne Moore’s when she played Jack’s love interest on “30 Rock.” It wasn’t perfect, but I loved her character enough not to care.
- Calling a water fountain a bubbler: I had heard of this before I moved here, but I just can’t do it. I’m sorry. To me, a bubbler will always mean something else entirely.
- Driving to NH for big purchases: Yeah, I’ve done this. The downside is, it’s mostly been in unsuccessful pursuit of something. The upside is, I haven’t had to report anything to the IRS.
- Knowing the difference between a milkshake and a frappe: As I believe I mentioned on this blog once before, I know that now and proudly use the knowledge to always get the one with the ice cream!
- Never going to Durgin Park: I don’t even know what this is – beyond the fact that it’s obviously some sort of restaurant – so clearly I’ve avoided it. Go, me! I clicked on the link in the article to find out, but it’s one of those sites that blares music at you, so I just shut it again without really looking. Sometimes I’m lazy like that.
- Knowing about Cheers, aka The Bull and Finch: I took someone here once when he wanted to get a picture of the sign. We got one and never went in.
- Remembering Combat Zone: Okay, I don’t remember this personally, of course. But I know stories about it from my mom, who warned me not to go there until she came to visit, walked around the area, and saw first-hand how different it is now. I mean, I think there’s only one strip club left! At least, there was just one eight years ago, when my mostly female coworkers and I used to joke about going there for the lunchtime buffet (hey, it was cheap, and we worked in publishing).
- Calling the remote the “clicka”: We totally used to do this in my house! And then one day, I realized no one else said that, and I stopped and forgot about it til now. Stupid peer pressure. But maybe now’s the time to resurrect the word.
Who knows in what other ways I’ll become more Bostonian the longer I live here? Maybe adding “wicked pissah” to my vocabulary is the next step…