Author Topic: Friend is annoyed with my answer to small talk questions of where I am from...  (Read 9841 times)

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Venus193

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In Australia, the suburbs are considered part of the city. Is that not the case in the US?

It's complicated, and not just because of weirdos like the woman who keeps correcting the OP about where she lives. Not only are there people who live inside city limits who will get snobby about borders, some people in the New York city area use "the city" to refer to Manhattan. Someone elsewhere in the city might answer the small talk question by saying she lived in New York, and then in a conversation with other New Yorkers say something like "I don't go into the city very often, the traffic is a hassle."

What compounds this problem is that mail is typically addressed as "New York, NY" for all of Manhattan and "Astoria, NY" or "Flushing, NY" for neighborhoods in Queens although there are neighborhood names for all the boroughs.  There is a snobbery among many Manhattanites against residents of the other boroughs that says we are less cultured, less educated, and all that this combination implies.  That offends me.

I am going to guess that the addressing custom happened because we have numbered streets in all the boroughs.   There is a 43rd street in each, for example.  However, I still don't see why Manhattan addresses are all "New York, NY" instead of "Chelsea, NY" or "Morningside Heights, NY".  Or Brooklyn addresses not being "Flatbush, NY" or "Park Slope, NY."

Piratelvr1121

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There are also sometimes smaller areas/districts that aren't technically within a city's official limits but they are still referred to as the locals as being part of the city or town because the lines are really blurred.

For instance, technically the mall, Target, Walmart and Home Depot aren't within our city limits and on my way home from shopping in those places I see signs "Now entering Townsname" and the mall and Target are officially in another town but everyone refers to the Regal Theater in the mall as the Regal Theater of my town.   And often people from that town will say they're from my town. 

Funny thing is, there's one route to the north end of town where you end up leaving this town and then re-entering it.
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wyliefool

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In Australia, the suburbs are considered part of the city. Is that not the case in the US?

It's complicated, and not just because of weirdos like the woman who keeps correcting the OP about where she lives. Not only are there people who live inside city limits who will get snobby about borders, some people in the New York city area use "the city" to refer to Manhattan. Someone elsewhere in the city might answer the small talk question by saying she lived in New York, and then in a conversation with other New Yorkers say something like "I don't go into the city very often, the traffic is a hassle."

What compounds this problem is that mail is typically addressed as "New York, NY" for all of Manhattan and "Astoria, NY" or "Flushing, NY" for neighborhoods in Queens although there are neighborhood names for all the boroughs.  There is a snobbery among many Manhattanites against residents of the other boroughs that says we are less cultured, less educated, and all that this combination implies.  That offends me.

I am going to guess that the addressing custom happened because we have numbered streets in all the boroughs.   There is a 43rd street in each, for example.  However, I still don't see why Manhattan addresses are all "New York, NY" instead of "Chelsea, NY" or "Morningside Heights, NY".  Or Brooklyn addresses not being "Flatbush, NY" or "Park Slope, NY."

I think it's probably because Queens was developed rather late compared to the rest of the city. Manhattan was settled 400 years ago. Brooklyn was a big city when it was absorbed by NYC. But my FIL, a Brooklynite, used to sneak onto trains into what is now Queens and steal apples from the orchards. Orchards! (Yes, he was rather a street urchin. It was also the Depression). So Middle Village was an actual village w/in recent memory, whereas 'NY' and 'Brooklyn' have been big cities for centuries.

squeakers

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I think a lot depends on who you are talking to, and how far away they live from you.

If I'm talking to someone from Ontario, I say I live in Mississauga. If I'm talking to someone from, say, Los Angeles, I say I live in Toronto, because that will likely give them a much better idea of where I'm located.

Plus, I don't have to hear them calling it "Mississogwa".


Seriously, people say "Mississogwa"?  :o

Most people have never read or heard Anishinabe so the "sauga" part gets mixed up with "agua" in their head.
"I feel sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." "It is so low, in fact, that Miss Manners feels sure you would not want to resort to it yourself, even in your own defense. We do not believe in retaliatory rudeness." Judith Martin

BeagleMommy

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OP, your friend has taken being pedantic to an entirely different level.  Seriously, why does she care where you say you live to someone you will probably never see again?

Before "The Office" (US version) was on TV I used to say I lived about 2 hours away from Philadelphia.  Now I can say Scranton, PA and people go "Oh, I've heard of that!".  ;D

guihong

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I don't know why people are so down on NJ.

  Yes, Jersyites often identify themselves by exits on the Turnpike. It's sort of an inside joke with them.  Central New Jersey does exist and has lovely towns.

One of the reasons we identify ourselves by Brooklyn neighborhood is that we often get an unexpected response such as, 'Oh, I grew up on 6th Avenue just north of Garfield.  Is Neergarde still in business?'. This often leads to interesting stories of our neighborhood in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. 

Since neither of us grew up in Brooklyn, this local history is of great interest to us.

I think it was Thipu1 who mentioned "Park Slope", and my first thought was "where the jet crashed back in 1960"  ::).  In fact, I was the one with the question of associating places with disasters.

I live in Arkansas now, and there are a surprising number of people from the U.S. who aren't sure where that is.  So, I have to get bigger: "just east of Texas in the south central part".  When someone asks where I'm originally from,  I start with "northeast Ohio" or "Cleveland",  and get smaller if they turn out to be familiar with the Cleveland area.

In Asia, I met another American who asked where I was from, and thinking she would have no chance of knowing, said "Cleveland area".  She turned out to be from a suburb on the other side of the city  ::).



Lynn2000

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I don't know if this is just me, but I am from a city (the city itself).  Almost every time I've said "I'm from [Chicago]," the other person will say, "Actually [Chicago]? Not a suburb?" to which I say, "Yes. Actual [Chicago]."  It seems strange that their first instinct is to question my statement of where I'm from -- I'm not sure if this is a result of all the people from the suburbs who start by saying they're from the city and then get more specific if questioned further.

This is probably the exact conversation you and I would have. :) Don't take it as me questioning your veracity, it's just that I'm familiar with Chicago and some of the suburbs, and in order to continue the conversation I'd like to know which we're really talking about, since it would be perfectly reasonable (IMO) for someone in the suburbs to answer "Chicago" to a total stranger, and a lot of people in fact do this.
~Lynn2000

Tea Drinker

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In Australia, the suburbs are considered part of the city. Is that not the case in the US?

It's complicated, and not just because of weirdos like the woman who keeps correcting the OP about where she lives. Not only are there people who live inside city limits who will get snobby about borders, some people in the New York city area use "the city" to refer to Manhattan. Someone elsewhere in the city might answer the small talk question by saying she lived in New York, and then in a conversation with other New Yorkers say something like "I don't go into the city very often, the traffic is a hassle."

What compounds this problem is that mail is typically addressed as "New York, NY" for all of Manhattan and "Astoria, NY" or "Flushing, NY" for neighborhoods in Queens although there are neighborhood names for all the boroughs.  There is a snobbery among many Manhattanites against residents of the other boroughs that says we are less cultured, less educated, and all that this combination implies.  That offends me.

I am going to guess that the addressing custom happened because we have numbered streets in all the boroughs.   There is a 43rd street in each, for example.  However, I still don't see why Manhattan addresses are all "New York, NY" instead of "Chelsea, NY" or "Morningside Heights, NY".  Or Brooklyn addresses not being "Flatbush, NY" or "Park Slope, NY."

I think it's probably because Queens was developed rather late compared to the rest of the city. Manhattan was settled 400 years ago. Brooklyn was a big city when it was absorbed by NYC. But my FIL, a Brooklynite, used to sneak onto trains into what is now Queens and steal apples from the orchards. Orchards! (Yes, he was rather a street urchin. It was also the Depression). So Middle Village was an actual village w/in recent memory, whereas 'NY' and 'Brooklyn' have been big cities for centuries.

That plus postal history. For some reason, Queens was and still is divided into four main post offices, Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City, and Far Rockaway. Each of the other boroughs has one. Where I grew up, I could put "Briarwood, N.Y." or "Jamaica, N.Y." as my address. Mail sent to "Queens, N.Y." or "New York, N.Y." might take longer, because it had to be readdressed, whereas the post office knew that Briarwood is part of Jamaica for postal purposes, and Astoria is part of Long Island City, and so on.

I suspect this matters less, now that everybody puts the zip code on things, and often the zip+4: I could probably put "Washington Heights, NY" on my mail and get it without significant delay, so long as I put the zip code. I've seen Bronx addresses listed as "Riverdale, NY," I think by people who thought it sounded higher class.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

Kendo_Bunny

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Your friend is being really annoying, rude, and snobbish.

I grew up in the country, and I would not live in a city for anything. If I was forced to move to a city, I would not be living, I would just be staying until I could escape. I hate cities. And that's fine - it takes all kinds of people to make a world. When people ask where I'm from, I tell them I come from the country outside Washington, D.C., on the Virginia side. It's true, and I get to claim my beloved country, rather than having to claim a despised city.

But when I was in, for example, Ireland, it was a lot easier to say I grew up near D.C. They knew roughly where that was, and at least it was someplace they had heard of. People asking where you're from don't want a geography lesson 9 times out of 10. If they want more info, they'll ask. Saying the nearest major metropolitan area is very common shorthand, and when someone tells me they're from X city, I usually assume they mean they're from around there.

Also, ask your friend where she thinks she'd get all the exciting things she gets to do in the city if it weren't for us country folk? There would be no food.  ::)

Venus193

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How about this one:  Saying something that obfuscates when you are either ashamed or in denial and the person who hears you knows the truth?

Example:  A friend of mine lived in Washington Heights during its worst time.  I visited her there a few times and know what the area was like.  She moved out of there in 1995.  A typical phrase now is "When I lived in North Manhattan..." when we talk about those days.

Marbles

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If I met someone in Sydney I would say "I live in North Rocks"
If I met someone in the central coastal NSW I would say "I live just out of Sydney" or "I live on the edge of Sydney" and elaborate if asked.
If I met someone from pretty much anywhere else I just said "Sydney" - because why do they need to know where I live and why would they know where the heck North Rocks even was, anyway?

Exactly. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city and suburbs cover nearly the entire contiguous land around the bay (which is ~60 x 15 miles across) and encompasses that nonexistant landform, Silicon Valley. When I'm traveling, I'll say I'm from near San Francisco. Only people who are familiar with the area care for specifics.

That's why we have conversations.
"Where are you from?"
"Near SF."
"Oh, near Town?"
"No, in Suburb. I have a friend in Town. It's a beautiful place. How do you know Town?"

OP, the way that your friend shorts that conversation is really off-putting. Not only does it cut off the give and take of conversation, but it either looks like the stranger is in the middle of an inside joke/conversation/argument or has unintentionally landed in a conversational minefield. That's really rude to the person you're just meeting, not only you.

jaxsue

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I think a lot depends on who you are talking to, and how far away they live from you.

If I'm talking to someone from Ontario, I say I live in Mississauga. If I'm talking to someone from, say, Los Angeles, I say I live in Toronto, because that will likely give them a much better idea of where I'm located.

Plus, I don't have to hear them calling it "Mississogwa".


Seriously, people say "Mississogwa"?  :o

Most people have never read or heard Anishinabe so the "sauga" part gets mixed up with "agua" in their head.

It's (the correct way to say it) very similar to the Native American pronunciations where I grew up, in N MI.

squeakers

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I think a lot depends on who you are talking to, and how far away they live from you.

If I'm talking to someone from Ontario, I say I live in Mississauga. If I'm talking to someone from, say, Los Angeles, I say I live in Toronto, because that will likely give them a much better idea of where I'm located.

Plus, I don't have to hear them calling it "Mississogwa".


Seriously, people say "Mississogwa"?  :o

Most people have never read or heard Anishinabe so the "sauga" part gets mixed up with "agua" in their head.

It's (the correct way to say it) very similar to the Native American pronunciations where I grew up, in N MI.

But once you get outside MI, MN, WI and the Dakotas most people would not be able to pronounce it correctly*.  Heck, most people here in Iowa wouldn't get it right most of the time.  Sort of like "How do you pronounce Worcestershire?"  But with the confusion of mixing letters around as well.

Now if they can't pronounce it after you say it.. then there would be something to shake your head about (like you posted).  But just reading it (as I did your post)? "Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe" ;-) http://www.languagehat.com/archives/000840.php

And for most people the "sauga" would either read as "saguaro" or "agua". Because those are familiar words.

Baamaapii  :)

*And parts of Canada, of course.
"I feel sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." "It is so low, in fact, that Miss Manners feels sure you would not want to resort to it yourself, even in your own defense. We do not believe in retaliatory rudeness." Judith Martin

jaxsue

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You're right, Squeakers. When it comes to language, regional differences are important.

GrammarNerd

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I'm from Wisconsin.  When I went on a class trip to France in high school, my instructor (who was from France) told us that if we were asked where we were from, we should just say Chicago.  See, nobody would know where Wisconsin was, but most people had heard of Chicago and it was a general enough vicinity.  Until she explained it, I thought it was just sooooo weird, because we're nowhere near Chicago! But to someone from another country, it was close enough, relatively speaking.  Especially for small talk.