It’s been almost 20 years, but I am still a transplant. I moved 286.7 miles farther away from the East Coast and found out, to my shock, that I was now a Mid-Westerner.
Once a comfortable Pittsburgher I never thought a short move to Ann Arbor would re-categorize me in the eyes of others. I was told I had an east coast accent! Talked too fast, y’know, like they do in New York City.
When I didn’t greet my coworkers in the hall with a bright and chipper ‘Good afternoon’ on the occasion of the twentieth time we had passed each other, it was tolerantly explained away as ‘not from the mid-west’.
(Well; no, c’mon. It’s just too much! I JUST saw you not three minutes ago on the way to the copier! We sit right next to each other all day.)
When I was kindly told that the reason Don didn’t answer me is because he thought I was talking to Dawn (evidently these names are not pronounced the same in this land), I decided I had to adapt.
I sought out Verners ginger ale. (It was once properly spelled with an apostrophe-s ) It’s OK, but I miss my Tom Tucker Mint Ginger Ale.
I ate a pastrami sandwich from Zingerman’s. It was delicious, but way too expensive for more than a very very very far-between once in a while. (For the record: I do NOT miss Pittsburgh’s guilty obsession with Chipped ham. Ugh. Slimy-slippy meat that is only bearable when heated with ketchup [Heinz; natch] for barbeque sammiches.)
I’ve traveled Up North to see Ste Sault Marie’s locks and large boats. And although it is properly majestic with THAT bridge and ships… I think the many many bridges of downtown Pittsburgh and the muddy brown river mixing with the blue green waters merging at the Point are always going to stir me more.
But the point is: I’ve tried. And grown to love living here. (Even though I still pronounce ‘fool’ to rhyme with ‘full’ and ‘pull’ of course always sounds like ‘pool’. As you do.)
I root for U of M (Go Blue!) because I live in Ann Arbor.
- And my husband graduated from there.
- And he now works there.
- And so do many other people that I know and love.
- And because it’s hard to root for pro football, because the Lions.
- And because I had the Steelers of the late 70’s.
The one thing I just can’t understand is the obsession around here with corn mazes.
A corn maze is something the mid-west uses to take money from overly boisterous and naïve neighbors and tourists.
Fees are forked over for the chance to walk deep into a field that is dusty and/or muddy, filled with twisty paths created by corn stalks.
There is one way in and another out. You can’t see through the stalks. You can’t avoid the critters and bugs that eat the corn. Can’t panic and push out through the sides. It’s either hot and itchy or cold and mucky. Etiquette demands that you must act all surprised when people double-back and frighten the daylights out of you.
Families usher their children into the thick of it just as if they've never read a Stephen King book in their lives!
Once/If you make it out in one piece, and if you are lucky, you can buy over-priced cold cider to wash the grit from your mouth from the handy road stand. You PAY even MORE if you get the deluxe package that includes a ride in a wagon that rumbles over ruts… and has no shocks.
I may learn to distinguish full from fool.. but that much of a fool I am not. I am a-mazed.
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Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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