After spending 23 years of your life in one state, I’m going to guess/hope it’s normal that you’d be highly attuned to differences when you move to another state. “Different” doesn’t mean bad, but since moving here I’ve had many an occasion to chuckle to myself over some southern (or, at least, South Carolinian) phrase.
But now, after four years in the “southland,” I’m going to have to admit that I’m (gasp) beginning to speak more like a native.
The first to go was the word “pop.” This little piece of midwestern culture was consciously abandoned for the variant “soda” early on. After letting the fellow students in the lab know that, “I’m going to get a pop. Anyone want one?” and receiving nothing but blank looks (and, on one occasion, “pop? Is that a drug?”) in return, I decided that “soda” was vastly preferable. (Sidenote: Some people use “coke” as the general term for “carbonated beverage that may or may not have caffeine,” which has always seemed like it would be confusing to me. “Want a coke?” Sure, you have any Pepsi?) The backlash for giving up “pop” without a fight, of course, is that I’m teased mercilessly if I slip up and say “soda” in Kansas. “Soda? Wow, you’ve been living on the east coast too long.” You don’t understand…it’s just easier! “Sure, sure……..sell-out.” Argh!!!
Speaking of soda/pop, last week one of the fellows brought in some Sundrop and let everyone know that it was for the whole office. Now it’s my turn for the blank stare. Sundrop? Huh? I’ve never heard of it. Is it like Sunny D? Apparently, Sundrop is the Mountain Dew-ish soda made by Cheerwine. Ah-ha! I may not be “from around here,” but that one I’ve heard of. They’re the one with the radio commercials where a Yankee is always trying to sneak into a store and buy Cheerwine because it’s just so good. I decided to give Sundrop a try, and you know what? It is pretty good. Not as fizzy as Mountain Dew, but good. I’ve also tried the peach-flavored Nehi…that one I wasn’t so crazy about.
The scariest evidence of assimilation, however, occurred a few weeks ago. I was eating lunch with a couple of friends and rambling on in my usual way. Somehow, the story involved a shopping cart, but when I got to that word my mind drew a complete blank. You know…the thing at the grocery store…the metal thing with wheels that you put all your stuff in as you navigate the aisles…the…”buggy!” I say. “No, wait. Holy cow. Did I just say buggy?! I take it back. Shopping cart. SHOPPING CART!!!!!” My friends watch my verbal and mental breakdown with much amusement. I really can’t believe I said “buggy” without even intending to. I can barely keep from giggling when the cart guy at the grocery store is putting carts away right as I walk in and asks me if I’d like a buggy. Tehe. Buggy. Scott and I laugh hysterically whenever we’re in Lowe’s and the loudspeaker calls for, “code 22, buggy run.” It’s just a funny word. And now…it’s apparently my word.
What’s next…sweet tea?