Peculiar — 8 Comments

  1. When I first vis­it­ed from N Y C, oh about a thou­sand years ago, I walked over to Kowalski’s to pick up some odds and ends. At the check­out I asked the clerk for some quar­ters for the news­pa­per machine out­side. I came up short cash-wise and went to return some items, but the clerk said, “Oh that’s alright. You can bring it lat­er.” Incred­u­lous, I turned to leave but he called me back and said, “You for­got your quar­ters for the news­pa­per!” And I said to myself, “Some­day I’m going to live here.”

  2. Using the term “satel­lites” for what I knew of as “por­ta-pot­ties” or “por­ta-johns” was com­plete­ly for­eign to when I moved here from a dif­fer­ent part of the coun­try. The first time my employ­er said we could stop in the park and use the “satel­lite” if we need­ed to, I was total­ly con­fused about what we were going to do.

  3. Won­der­ful sto­ry, Helene. Such a sim­ple thing. My wife would do that occa­sion­al­ly in her book­store in Gro­ton, MA and was some­times met with increduli­ty. But the cus­tomers always did come back.

  4. Huh. Haven’t heard “satel­lite” here yet. My wife won­dered whether it might be a brand name, and sure enough. Rem­i­nis­cent of the British habit of refer­ring to what we call a “back­hoe” as a “J C B.”

  5. Hi Kei­th – Some­thing you may find inter­est­ing along the lines of inher­it­ed bias or some such thing (please don't judge too harsh­ly) – I'm always struck by how con­trary your blog images are to my own inter­nal pic­ture of the East and St Paul. At first I thought the pho­tos were miss-labeled. In my mind the image of St Paul is con­flat­ed with gen­er­al Min­neso­ta: wood­land and prairie and tidy hous­es (for some rea­son I don't pic­ture a city at all), and when I hear the word "east­ern­er" I pic­ture an end­less con­gest­ed metrop­o­lis (and peo­ple with bad man­ners… clear­ly nei­ther applies to you!).

  6. Hi Dave, I do see your point, and I share some of that bias: East­ern cities as old, crowd­ed, and rude. In Mass­a­chu­setts I didn't live urban; in fact the pho­to that tops each page is of Gib­bet Hill in Gro­ton, of which a view pre­sent­ed itself out my east-fac­ing win­dows. Here is an iPhone pho­to I cap­tured last March 30 out the bed­room win­dow:

    The St. Paul pho­to above doesn't rep­re­sent my cur­rent locale. When I think of St. Paul I think of tidy, leafy neigh­bor­hoods of small­ish hous­es put up in the pre­vi­ous century's teens to '30s. Just like where I live now.

  7. Oth­er terms I learned when I moved here: binders (rub­ber bands), boule­vard (the grassy strip between side­walk and street), and sem­a­phore (a traf­fic light, e.g. red-yel­low-green). Thought I’d land­ed on anoth­er plan­et.

  8. Hel­lo Deb, thanks for join­ing. My wife, the Min­neapo­lis native, is unfa­mil­iar with all of those terms. They might be com­mon in some stra­ta in the Twin Cities but not uni­ver­sal.

    Any­one else come across those usages?

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