A couple of regional differences reared their heads within days of each other and I simply have to share. The first one broke my heart a little bit, but the other one totally redeemed my excitement about living in the North.
First, in maybe one of the saddest moments of my life, I was forced to acknowledge the fact that some people don’t know what enchiladas are.
Holy Toledo, guys. I am not even kidding about this.
While having a conversation with a lady at the grocery store checkout about the merits of using rotisserie chickens for other dishes, I mentioned that I like to use the chicken for enchiladas (which you should really do if you haven’t already). This poor, poor woman looked me straight in the eye and uttered the most devastating sentences I’ve ever heard, “Enchiladas…now what are those? Burritos? Or like burritos?”
Forgive her, Lord, for she knows not what she said.
I’m sad to say that my explanation probably wasn’t the best. It also probably included phrases like, “manna from heaven” and “food of the gods.” I also stammered a lot seeing as I have honestly never met someone who didn’t know what enchiladas are. However, the same could probably be said for my father-in-law when he realized I didn’t know about stuffed cabbage. So there you go.
All I’m saying is, the whole exchange made me seriously re-think the decision of living in such a place. In the words of Grandma D. (ironically, while visiting Texas for our wedding), “You mean people actually live like this???” However, a few days later, our neighbor totally turned things around.
We were over discussing neighbor-y things, which doesn’t happen all that frequently seeing as our neighbor, Bob, had to ask me for my name again. We obviously need to be better about being neighborly. When I told him my name is Mary Susan he immediately asked if he could call me…wait for it…”Mare.”
As in, shortened version of Mary.
As in the nickname Rhoda used for Mary on the Mary Tyler Moore show.
My life is now complete.
Some of you, namely my family members, will perhaps be surprised at my excitement seeing as I have forever and for always abhorred being called “Mary.” However, this nickname is just amazing on too many levels to turn down. Especially since A.) it was bestowed upon me by someone who literally forgot my real name and obviously needed to make life easier and B.) because of the Mary Tyler Moore thing.
Also, I’ve found that people in the North tend to be pretty nickname-happy. For example: my husband, who is named after his father (and grandfather) goes by “Vincent” professionally. He fills out his paperwork as Vincent, introduces himself as Vincent, etc. It never fails that the conversation goes like this,
“Hello, I’m Vincent.”
“Nice to meet you, Vince!”
They don’t ask, they don’t apologize, and they most certainly do not think twice before putting “Vince” on his name tag for work. Usually I’m quite militant about respecting the name that people request to go by, but “Mare”? “Mare’s” just too good to pass up.
And you’d better bet that neighbor Bob totally calls me “Mare” whenever he sees me. Now if I can only master throwing a hat in the air while not looking awkward, we’ll be set.