Open Thread WE 23 JUN 21 ~ the Maine idea
"There's a quality of life in Maine which is this singular and unique. I think. It's absolutely a world onto itself." -- Jamie Wyeth
Welcome to this edition of the Wednesday OT. This week finds us in a cabin on a remote lake in central Maine. It has become an annual event. Pack-up the truck with victuals, bedding, reading material and puzzles. Hook up the trailer with the little sailboat and spouse's kayak. Then drive the 5 hours or so north (Boston traffic is always trippy). A great respite from the frenetic normal life.
Once here, the pace of life slows considerably. Watching / hearing the loons, turtles, eagles, Blue Heron and occasional leaping fish. Ahhh...
What is most striking in the Maine wilderness is the continuousness of the forest, with fewer open intervals or glades than you had imagined. Except the few burnt lands, the narrow intervals on the rivers, the bare tops of the high mountains, and the lakes and streams, the forest is uninterrupted.
— Henry David Thoreau
1. don’t ask “what are you doing?”…they say “Chuppta?”
2. weather doesn’t get “windy”…it gets “breezed up.”
3. Things don’t “break” in Maine…they get “stove up.”
4. don’t eat until “full”…they get “mugup.”
5. roads are never “icy” or “slippery”…they’re “greasy.”
6. don’t “go to the country”…they “go out in the willie-wacks.”
7. don’t say someone is “flamboyant” or “eccentric”…they say they’re “a rig.”
8. don’t take their boots off in the “foyer”…they use the “dooryard".
9. don’t have “midnight snacks”…they have “bed lunches.”
10. don’t drive small distances…they go “up the road apiece.”
11. don’t say “I don’t know”…they say “hard tellin’ not knowin’.”
12. don’t “get stuck” or “get in trouble”…they “get in a gaum.”
13. don’t put things “in the basement”…they go “down cellar.”
14. don’t take out the “trash”…they deal with the “culch.”
15. don’t say “that was good”…they say it was the “finest kind.”
16. don’t move things in small amounts…they move them “just a dite.”
17. don’t say “I lost it”…they say “it’s down cellar behind the axe.”
18. don’t get “get drunk”…they “catch a buzz on.”
19. don’t get “sick”…they get “pekid.”
20. don’t “steal”…they “kife.”
21. don’t say something’s “awesome”…they say it’s “savage.”
22. don’t “hurry”…they “book it.”
23. don’t say “that’s cute”…they say “that’s cunnin’.”
24. doesn’t have “tourists”…only “flatlanders.”
25. don’t become “senior citizens”…they become “old timers.”
1. From away
One of the most widely used phrases you’ll find in Maine, referring to someone who wasn’t born and raised in Maine. For some, it’s more extreme than that and they’ll go back generations for a cut-off, but let’s keep it simple. People from away can be easily identified by their accent, lack of knowledge about where to pick the best fiddleheads, and inability to get all of the meat out of a lobster.
An informal agreement that basically means ‘yes.’ Most commonly heard from the 40+ crowd in Downeast Maine. It’s also probably what you imagine when you try to concoct a stereotypical Maine accent.
3. Southern Maine
This is a tricky one dealing with sensitive regional designations. Southern Maine, or the Southern Coast, is the very bottom-most tip of Maine, south of Portland. If you’re from the northern part of the state (think north of Bangor), however, Southern Maine is everything south of where you are — essentially the majority of the state. This phrase is an excellent one to wield if you’re looking to blend in regionally — but beware of the wrath of a mid-coaster if you tell them that they live in Southern Maine.
4. The County
Speaking of regions, this is one that’s universally recognized. It is, of course, referring to Aroostook County, the ‘crown of Maine,’ and the largest county east of the Mississippi. It’s a place where the moose population is larger than the human one and it wouldn’t be strange to hear French being spoken at the local diner.
5. You can’t get there from here (he-ah).
First of all, every Mainer travels with a Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, so we can probably figure out a route. But our craggy coastline and endless forests do make it pretty difficult to get places quickly. So just do yourself a favor and pick up a Gazetteer, instead of receiving this incredulous response when asking for directions.
Ah, the quintessential Mainer word. This is going to be thrown around more often than you can keep track as it can be used alone or as a modifier. Dollar shots in the Old Port? Wicked! The Black Bears’ goalie is on fire tonight? He made a wicked save! Probably a throwback to New England’s Puritan ways, it’s certainly one of the most pervasive terms in this collection.
Confusingly, this is normally not referring to someone from Italy. Rather, it’s the name for a very specific type of sandwich that you typically find in saran wrap at gas stations and bait shops. Imagine this, a white hoagie roll with ham, American cheese, thinly sliced onions, green peppers, tomatoes, black olives, sour pickles, and oil — add salt and pepper if you’re feeling deluxe. Pro tip — it’s best eaten in a canoe while fishing.
Clams! Specifically, soft-shelled clams steamed in water (or white wine, butter, and shallots — you’re welcome). Delicious, meaty, and best fresh with an ocean view.
9. To bang a (insert direction here)
Now hold on, this is not going where you think it is. In Maine, “to bang a…” means to make a quick move, most likely in a vehicle. “Bang a left” or “bang a right,” and for advanced speakers, “bang a uey” (make a U-turn). It’s crucial terminology for when you’re about to miss the last exit to get gas for the next 60 miles.
Again, not what you think it is. This term refers to an old, barely running, but weirdly resilient vehicle. It could be a car, but it’s most likely a pick-up truck with a manual transmission. It probably hasn’t passed an inspection in years. Many Mainers learn how to drive in a beater, most likely on dirt roads.
11. Dinner vs. supper
Dinner, historically the larger meal of the day, is served at noon (aka lunch). Supper is served in the evening. Some believe that this may be derived from our French Canadian and Acadian Mainers who eat ‘souper’ in the evening, a lighter meal typically centered around soup. Whatever the case, it’s good to know in order to avoid any confusion.
12. Same difference
Instead of saying ‘no difference,’ Mainers prefer the oxymoron ‘same difference.’ That’s really all there is to it.
13. Champagne of Maine
Now here we have a double-whammy, the ‘Champagne of Maine.’ It’s also known as ‘fat-ass in a glass,’ and is a typical alcoholic beverage in Maine made of Allen’s Coffee Brandy and milk over ice. Allen’s is the best-selling liquor in the state and it doesn’t top the bestseller list anywhere else in the US. In fact, 85 percent of all Allen’s produced is sold in Maine, even though it’s not from Maine. So maybe it’s possible for something ‘from away’ to find a home here after all.
Silliness aside, this thread is open. Post away whatever ya cotton needs be said.