Friday, September 18, 2009


It happens quite often. Someone will ask 'where are you from'? I offer "New York State, not the city", hoping that it will not bring the inevitable response from the listener. Unfortunately it usually does not divert them from what I expected. "Oh, it must have been awful to live there!" or "How did you survive 9/11?" or "This country living must be a big change for you." or something equally as revealing to me that they were NOT listening or else they haven't any idea that NY is a big state, with far more residential places than Manhattan.

I've had people tell me that we don't seem like New Yorkers, whatever that means. I always think that they've had a bad experience with someone from NY...something like rudeness or impatience or bad driving. I'm hoping that they mean that we don't come bearing the same reputation. I don't know. I do know that not everyone from New York is pushy or nasty or an unsafe driver. Not even everyone from Manhattan is!

Some people have told me that I don't have a New York accent. Well, sure I do! I spent almost 60 years there, so I'm bound to have an accent from there. But, no, I do not have a New York city accent (choose one of the burrows, I don't have one from any of them!) So, I put on my best Brooklyn accent and say, "D'ya mean dat I don't tawk like dis?" and they usually answer, "yes", with a chuckle.

Ahhhh... it all boils down to this, I've decided. Even when I show people a map of Long Island, and point to the far eastern end, explaining that it is some 120 miles or so from Times Square, somehow I've wasted time and breath. There's no way to explain how different small town living when I was growing up is from today's New York City. It's an exercise in futility, so I tell them, and answer their questions about sky scrapers, subways and ground zero to the best of my limited ability, all the while telling them I don't know much about the city life, having grown up so far away from it. Sigh.