Monday, March 29, 2010

I Can't Hide It

I like to think of myself as a gypsy. A world traveler. Someone who is familiar with both coasts of this great nation and decently familiar with a handful of more exotic destinations. (My renewed passport was waiting for me on my return from DC! Hooray!) The world is my oyster! I am at home everywhere!

But apparently my roots really show. And it's not because I haven't been to my stylist recently. (WAH-WAAAAAH.) On this aforementioned trip to DC, I was getting a Dark Cherry Mocha to accompany me on my four-hour trip to BWI--because apparently I thought I needed enough sugar to kill an elephant just to make it to the airport--and I was talking to the barista. He spent about three seconds talking to me before he said,

"So...are you from the West Coast?"

And I'm not even that blonde anymore. Apparently my speech pattern gives me away.

It's not the first time I've heard this, either. Shout-out to LT, who was the the first person to mention to me, in his nasal East Texas accent, that I had "the accent" of the West Coast. (Ten effing years ago.) It's not really an accent, per se--it's more of a speech pattern. Quick, quick, slow, says LT. I hear it in my friends, especially after a weekend like this one, in which I was without it, listening instead to the intellectual, measured accents of my sorority sisters. (Not a joke. Those ladies ARE intellectual and measured.) Last night I was in Philly, talking to a bunch of boys from Rhode Island with the thickest East Coast accents I'd heard in some time. They sounded like they came from another planet, especially compared to the firefighter from Charlotte, his drawl thick but soft, unlike the hard percussiveness of the RI accents, like a drumstick hitting a pad. And all Southern drawls are not created equal. My friend from Kentucky has an accent that is totally different all over again, way softer than the firefighter's, and lighter, too. More like smoked clover honey than the slow-moving BBQ sauce rhythm of the Carolinas. My friend Ray-Ray, mentioned here, has a Memphis accent like the twang of a banjo string. You can hear the hills of Tennessee when she talks.

Okay, where's my passport? I have itchy feet already.

No comments: