Bostonia Rantida

Friday, October 17, 2008

"In New York We ..."

Before I tell this story, I want to tell you that one of my best friends lives in New York, along with several other people I love dearly. I love to visit New York, and I love Manhattan. Every time someone gets all whiny about "it's too big!" or "it's dirty!" I roll my eyes. It's a city, same as anything -- I mean, Metro Boston is pretty big, taken all together. Surely getting from Alewife to Braintree takes you almost as long as heading from the Bronx to Brooklyn. It's just like anywhere. But I'm a fan. I'm not saying I like their teams (okay, the Mets are acceptable, but I just like the giant baseballhead mascot, mostly), but I like the city.

That said, there was this group in front of me at my coffee shop today, and first off, none of them knew how to read signs (bagel line is here! then you get in the coffee line ... not that hard!), and when one of them, the New Yorker, got to the line he asked for a "bagel with a schmear." As if this is uniquely New York. Anyway, the bagel dude asked him to repeat it a couple times, and the New Yorker finally articulated what he actually wanted. I know what a schmear is, of course, but not because of my NYC visits, where I have been to many-a bagel shoppe and never heard it. No, I know what it is because in my quaint suburban hometown, Einstein Bagel was one of our bagel chains, and while their bagels (like Panera's) are pretty much round bread, they used the word "schmear." That is the ONLY place I have ever heard the term used, and even that was rare.

After getting his bagel with a schmear, he removed his annoying self to the coffee line, where he tried to order a "regular." Again, this didn't work, because there is no such drink at this place. Right behind the register are canisters of mild and dark roast. There are three sizes on the board above them. Figure it out! When the cashier repeated her question and articulated which roasts were offered, he then said, "Oh, in New York, we just say a 'regular'." And I wanted to shout "WELL THEN GO BACK TO NEW YORK!" I doubt the guy is *from* New York any more than I'm from here, but at least I'm not an asshole who says "In Boston we..." at every opportunity. I mean, this is like trying to order in Starbucks lingo at Dunkin Donuts. And even then, I'm pretty sure you CAN order a regular at DD's.

Anyway, he got my blood a-boilin' for about 1.5 minutes, but I figured it'd be a good blog story. And the NYDB was lame. When in Rome, order a coffee the way the Romans do, okay?

Una tazza di caffè, per favore.


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