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.
Help! The public sphere is being flooded with TV screens that are drowning out everything else. They show up everywhere, obtrusive and unavoidable.
They demand attention; trying to block them out and do something else can be mentally exhausting. Whether they are large or small, whether they broadcast a public station or a closed circuit network, their continuous distraction of moving images and background noise discourages people from interacting, reading, writing, or just sitting quietly and thinking. I really dislike it. Skip the life preserver and someone please throw me a remote!
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