A strange and wonderful thing happened to me at a Halloween swing dance this year. As usual, it was a well-attended gala event. Most people, including me, were decked out in costume. It was early in the evening, a lively song came on, and I asked a masked man who was standing near me to dance. He wore a long cape with a hood and not one part of his head or face was visible. I had no idea who he was. He nodded yes, we got into dance position, took a few steps together. Then I looked up at him and the magic began.
I’ve always seemed to be directionally challenged. I am not alone. Left-right confusion is a common phenomenon affecting about 25 percent of the population. Over the years I’ve learned to work around it. I always take an extra pause before registering which is my right or my left and I prefer to draw a diagram than give verbal directions. If navigating in a car, I will tell the driver to turn to your side or my side because it takes me too long to get the correct word out. I’ve been told not to worry; it is not a form of dyslexia nor a neurological problem. Great. But, now that I’ve become a yoga teacher, I’ve found this to be more troublesome then ever.
I was born and raised in New York and, until I reached my 40s, I had never lived more than 90 miles from the heart of “the city”, also known as Manhattan. Then, I followed my job to Durham, NC and found myself naively unprepared for the culture shock; language being one of the most immediately obvious differences. Growing up, I had seen episodes of the Andy Griffith Show, so I knew they spoke differently in the south. I just didn’t expect they would still be watching that show and still speaking that way.
Over the (20+) years I’ve lived here, I have come to appreciate many things about this area. The genteel ways have won me over and I now enjoy many of the southern colloquial, linguistic quirks. Mind you, I actually never find myself saying them — all my attempts at “y’all” still come out as “all you guys” — but I like these funny and sometimes corny phrases; they make me smile when I hear them. Here are my favorite “southernisms”, things that would never come out of a New Yorker’s mouth. Continue reading →