The Brooklyn Bridge and Other Things That Don’t Make Sense on the Prairie

Last week when I was visiting my relatives, I drove on the Brooklyn Bridge.  It would have been a simpler drive if I had chosen the Verrazano Bridge, but the Verrazano Bridge is $15.00.  Yes, that is right.  $15.00 for one bridge.

Yes, this bridge is really $15.00.

Yes, this bridge really costs $15.00 to drive on from Brooklyn to Staten Island. And, yes, if you’ve ever seen the movie Saturday Night Fever, this is that same bridge.

 

My bridge adventures made me think of some sayings that don’t apply out here.  My husband, for example, was born and raised here in Lincoln County.  He lived a short time in a town just over the border of Lincoln County and a short time in Colorado Springs, so he is really a Lincoln County boy.  Lincoln County and Brooklyn are different.  Sometimes I want to use a phrase and I have to stop myself.

I took this picture last week from my rental car.

I took this picture last week from my rental car.

If [Donnie] jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you? New York children have heard this expression for generations.  A parent will usually say this in response to a child whining that they are prohibited from doing something that their friend is allowed to do.  The Brooklyn Bridge is about 1700 miles from Lincoln County.  It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City.  The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country.  It is free for cars and has a pedestrian portion.  Lincoln County children, including my own, will just not understand.

bigsandycreek

This is a super-rare event, last August. The Big Sandy Creek actually had water in it. I really do live five minutes from this bridge. Well, maybe ten.

I live five minutes from the bridge.  My father said that in 1964, when they opened the Verrazano Bridge to connect Staten Island and Brooklyn, there was a population boom in Staten Island.  Die-hard Brooklyn residents would complain when their loved ones moved to Staten Island.  “I live five minutes from the bridge,” is what the new Staten Island resident would say, regardless if they were really five minutes away or at the very opposite end of Staten Island.  As New Yorkers continued to move and moved to New Jersey, “I live five minutes from the bridge” came to mean they lived in New Jersey up to a half hour from the Goethals Bridge or Outerbridge.  When they pass out brochures in Brooklyn about Manalapan, they describe Manalapan as five minutes from the bridge, which would only be true if you had a helicopter.

They love so close that I can see their front porch from my backyard.  I suppose that this is a Jersey phrase rather than a Brooklyn one.  The Lincoln County version of this saying should be They live so close that if I stand on my roof, cock my head and squint, I can kind of see the trees by their house.

He’s a dems and dose kinda guy.  This is an expression to describe an individual who isn’t very bright.  There is an untrue connotation that people who have very thick New York accents aren’t very smart.  Did I mention that this is untrue?  Many people with thick New York accents are really smart and many people without New York accents are idiots.  When someone pronounces a “th” sound in New York, it frequently comes out as a “d” sound.  If someone did not know the name for people or things, he could perhaps call the people “them” and the things “those”.  Except with a New York accent, it would sound like “dem” and “dose”.  We make “them” incorrectly plural for further insult.
So a few months ago when I was telling my husband about a Lincoln County resident and said “He’s a dems and dose kinda guy,” my husband did not have a clue what I was saying, and understandably so.  I was really a dems and dose kinda gal to be using that saying here on the prairie.

And that’s the thing that gets me, again and again, when I bite my tongue when these sayings come into my mind and then sigh in frustration, I have to remember that I’m really the one who is an outsider here.

And then I’ll tell you that I live five minutes from the bridge anyway.


Posted in Culture Clashes of a Jersey Girl on the Colorado Prairie by with 2 comments.

Comments

  • Charliene says:

    Awwwwwww… That’s really sad at the end. I know the feeling from when I lived out in the Land of Oz, oh, I mean Ohio, where my husband was from and my kids got used to. I was the outsider. It never changed. My very own children turned against me, insisting that soda is actually called “pop”! Now he’s the outsider – way out here on the west coast. It’s sad. I don’t like how that works. But we both really enjoyed this post! Laughed through lots of it. You’re a great writer. 🙂

    • Laura says:

      Ohio and Oz both start with “O”. Maybe you have a point. 🙂
      I’m sorry that your kids turned against you and called soda “pop”. I’ve always called it soda. We can have solidarity together, Charliene.
      You are very inspiring! I might write a post one day about how I call things by different names out here and my wonderful neighbors, in-laws and even husband sometimes don’t have a clue what I’m saying! I never thought of a post just on words and not phrases. I came up with the phrase idea on the BQE (Brooklyn Queen Expressway [which isn’t very express]) last week.

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