I was minding my own business, when it started all over again. Now mind you, I may have been a little cranky, having to rise early that morning for an echo cardiogram. I didn’t think they made appointments that early..really I didn’t. But I had mangled my way through that and was presently perched ( not pleasantly, but presently) on a table in the doctor’s office. I’ll preface this by also saying I loathe having to climb up and sit on that table when there are perfectly good looking chairs within reach of my backsides. I digress. The perky little nurse wanted me there for a reason, so I perched. Ah, ha, the old EKG routine. They hadn’t seen enough of my heart, so one more time. Here a patch, there a patch, everywhere a patch with a wire attached. You people who’ve had one know exactly what I am talking about.
I pride myself with my spirit of cooperation in health matters. I had maybe an eye roll or two, but then came THAT moment. Ms. Perky looked as she attached the last patch and said, “You’re from Massachusetts, aren’t you.” Not a question; a statement. I still wonder if my eyes glazed the way they felt. “No”, I replied ( in what my son recalled later as a very frosty voice), ” I am from Maine.” She may have felt a jolt of ice because she admitted that she knew I must be from “one of those places.”
It’s nothing new. Years ago, while working in retail one evening, a lady customer piled her purchases in front of me and after a short conversation , remarked, “You’re from London, aren’t you.” Not a question, but another statement. “No, I’m from Maine.” “No, you’re not. You’re from London. I can tell by the accent.” Now we have always heard that the customer is always right, but this was beginning to grate on me just a bit. “Sorry, M’am , I’m from Maine.” She drew herself to full height ( at least it appeared so) and told me that I could fool some people but she KNEW her accents. That night I became a citizen of the United Kingdom.
Early in our marriage, Dick and I were in my mother’s kitchen one night when a whole bunch of her friends came to visit. It was a tea, coffee and chat group for about an hour or so. The next morning, I asked Dick if he enjoyed meeting every one and he said, “yes, but I didn’t understand a word they said.” So much for the poor “out-of-stater”. In our 41 years, he got accustomed to hearing me talk ( or maybe it was selective hearing) and did understand more. However, the unique sayings always threw him.
We were visiting one other time when my mother was in an agitated state because one of her friends had been in an automobile accident. “That car was all stove up,” she went on to say. Dick never changed expression, but when she left the room , he said “What does a stove have to do with a car wreck?” Poor man.
So many expressions surface over the years. My Dad always added to his good-bye, “Keep your powder dry ” or at a speeding car up the Greenwood Road, “he was hell bent for leather.”
I have to add the one time that my Maine accent almost got me in trouble. I was working on the front desk of the chiropractor’s office and , unfortunately, was the last few minutes of a long, busy day. A patient had been seen and was on the way out. She stopped to schedule and pay and the doctor came out with her to wind things up. I answered a question the doctor asked and the patient looked rather strangely at me and said “you’re not from around here, are you..” where upon the good Doc said, “No, Sandy is from Maine.” Now you won’t believe this, but this woman actually said, “Oh, Lord, is there anything more ugly than that Maine accent? I cannot stand to listen to it one minute.” Yeah, she actually said that. Now Doc knew that simmering beneath my smile was a keg of dynamite, and he turned and retreated to his inner adjustment room.
I handed the woman her receipt which she swept into her purse and remarked, “Well, I haven’t been to Maine lately” and may God forgive me, I looked at her and said, “And I am sure the natives thank you.” She swept out of the office, leaving a huge “WELLLL” behind. I held my breath for a couple of days, but guess she didn’t lodge a complaint.
Did I mention she was really ugly, too?