Friday, September 26, 2008

Southern Slang


It's been a while, I know. No excuses.

So....I've had this conversation with several people I know and I always come to the same conclusion every time - I don't know how to speak southern slang.

Now let me say this....I am a PROUD southerner. I love my heritage, values, beliefs, ethics, everything that exemplifies what a southerner is. I love sweet tea, collard greens - or any vegetable cooked with a bone or bacon in it, fried chicken, church, manners etc. However, I have always struggled with the topic of slang, but southern slang in general.

Picture this.....

I'm at a gas station today (just minutes ago actually) pumping gas and a truck pulls up at the adjoining pump. A nice gentleman gets out, looks at me, spits on the ground and says "ah-ight nahw." Loosely translated to mean, "all right now." I look at him, smile, and say, "hi." I mean....all right now, what? do I answer that? Should I have given him the "what-up head tilt" and then spit on the ground? This is a whole other problem because my body doesn't produce a lot of saliva. I have a dry mouth...sorta like a classification of certain St. Bernard dogs. Anyway....

He spits on the ground again and then says, "whatcha know good?" I mean....what do I know good? I know a lot of good things. Does he want me to talk about Celie? Doubtful. Does he want me to talk about what a wonderful mommy Sarah has become? I'll give you a guess - negative. So I stutter and fumble around on my words - which is rare - and say, "it's a beautiful day." Ah, the weather talk - which I never do. People here in my office LOVE to talk weather. I think it's a senior citizen or very bored person thing to do. I personally do not talk weather as the subject is finite. It's either, pretty or ugly; hot, cold or perfect; sunny or raining. I really don't care about the weather to be honest so I don't "talk it."

So the gentleman says, "it sure is. You cast net?" Do I cast net? I'll give you a moment to laugh. Those of you that know me know that I do not cast net. And for those of you who don't know what that means, it's simply wading in thigh to waist deep shark-infested water and throwing a net (like a native) into the water and hoping to have a fish in it when you pull it up. By fish, I mean mullet typically. I hate mullet. It's gross to me.

So I say, "no sir, I don't cast net." He says, "well why not? There's some good eatin' to be done." Oh my. What to do, what to do? I certainly can't tell him that:
1) I don't eat mullet
2) I'm borderline terrified to wade into deep water during "feeding time"
3) I wouldn't know how to "work" a cast net if my life depended on it

So I think...AH HA! I'll blame everything on Celie! She's the perfect scapegoat for all of this. She's only seven months old and can take the blame for anything.

"Well, I really don't have time. You see, we just had our first baby this year and we like to spend time with her when we get home and on the weekends so really cast netting is really out of the picture."

He retorts: "Awww, get that baby out there and teach him how to throw a net. He'll need to know how to skin a mullet anyway."

omg, omg, omg, omg - how is the gas taking so long????????

I say: "Oh, she's a little girl....did I mention she's only seven months old?"

He says: "Oh, a girl....well (long pause)........ she'll need to know how to cook 'em and clean up after 'em."

God in Heaven help me.

So at this point, I look at him and just uncomfortably chuckle. I mean, my word!!! By this point I'm hoping that he's forgotten that I'm standing there with him. He then says, "well, whut chew thank about all this bankin' bizness? I dun toll my wife to close my account at the bank. I'm gone start keeping my money at the house."

CLICK - gas pumping over (thank you Lord)

I say, "well, it's certainly a serious problem that needs to be fixed. You have a great afternoon and good luck with your net, uh, casting, um, cast net, cast netting, fishing, whatever!"