Several years ago, when I was visiting San Francisco, I read in a book supplied by my hotel that if I wanted to fit in with the good natives of that city, I would not call it "Frisco". I had no intention of doing so, and in fact the mere notion of calling it that made me cringe quite audibly. I thought that calling San Francisco "Frisco" would be the equivalent of wearing sneakers, a baseball cap, and the dreaded fanny pack in Europe. (For the so-called record, I wouldn't be caught dead wearing any of those things here or "abroad". The only time I'll wear sneakers is to/from and in the gym.)
Just moments ago, I found myself reading a few lines of someone's "bio" on her site. She says that she's originally from a large state (I won't say which one, but it rhymes with "Chexas") and now attends school in ... Chi-Town. Indeed, her bio was littered with a slew of peppy Chi-Town references. Instantly I thought, "Chi-Town? How moronic. What is that anyway? Chinatown? Does she mean Chinatown?" And then I quickly realized that I too was a moron (but of a different variety) because it was clear from the name of her school that she meant Chicago. Of course. I'd heard Chicago referred to that way before: when I was visiting that city with a friend and he told me never to say "Chi-Town". (As if!)
So I started to wonder, as I'm prone to doing. Do the people who live in Chicago actually refer to their city as "Chi-Town"? Or is that just as hideous as calling San Francisco "Frisco"? And what about Boston? Do people who live there ever call it "Beantown"? And what of "Motown" and "The Big Easy"? Or are all of these just asinine nicknames that brand those who use them as tourists and not just any old tourists, but the dreaded kind who descend upon their host cities wearing colorful track suits, visors, and bright white sneakers purchased expressly for the occasion ("We're going to be doing a lot of walking!"), toting carefully marked copies of Fodors, and pointing? Does anyone who lives in a large city either as a born-and-bred native or a "transplant" of whatever duration seriously use these nicknames?
I mean, I never call New York "the Big Apple", either in jest or otherwise. Even before I moved here, I was never compelled to associate it with large fruit. And never, when I leave the house to go hither and yon, out and about, to make my way around this city on a little jaunt, do I gleefully proclaim, "I am going to take a bite out of the Big Apple!" So why do people ask me, in email, "So, how's the Big Apple?" Or tell me, "I'm going to be in the Big Apple next month! Let's get together!"?
I will only consider getting together with you if you sign an affidavit stating that you will not to refer to this city as anything other than "New York" or tell me you'll be in "Manhattan". Otherwise, you can just bite me. (I would say, "How d'ya like them apples?", but I generally like to avoid vomiting whenever possible.)fresh-baked at 12:01 PM