I don't have an accent.
I promise you. I really don't. But people from other states definitely do.
Shut up. I talk normally.
It always baffles me when I go to other states and (after I open my mouth) locals and/or other tourists look at me like I'm "not from around these parts." Which I'm not. Okay, fine. I've heard a theory that the California accent is the "American accent" because we have Hollywood here, meaning that movie stars/actors/newscasters/etc. all strive and struggle to make their voices sound like ours. Kind of a win, if you're not a hipster. If you are...shut up, no one cares, you dirty hipster. Go back to your Modest Mouse and PBR. (I'm just kidding - I love you, please come back)
Though it's become increasingly evident to me that our slang differs just as much, if not more, in different locales. When I was at Girls State, we spent a good few hours exchanging different slang based on if we were from the northern, central, or southern part of the state. I was in awe to see that the way we talk differs so much in just 100 geographic miles.
After spending a good week trying in vain to teach a girl from my "city" what "hecka" means and how to use it, I decided to put this to the test in my adventures in other parts of the country. Which brings us to my recent adventures in the grit-eatin', gun-totin', drawl-talkin' South. A few weeks ago I visited South Carolina. This, of course, meant me swallowing my liberalist agenda, sweating bullets, shutting my mouth on political issues, and tearfully leaving my "Obama Girl" tank top back home. I know - I miss it, too. But while at dinner I was talking with my family and the server (we'll call him Elliot because I like that name) when a piece of Southern slang came out of his mouth. The look on my face was one of utter confusion. The subsequent conversation went something like this:
Elliot: That's dank.
Me: What?? "Dank?" Like "dark and dank?" Is that supposed to mean something good?
Elliot: You haven't heard someone use "dank" before? Where are you from?
Me: I'm from California, and no, I can't say that I have. What about "hecka"? Do you say "hecka" around here?
Elliot: Wait, what? What is that? Hecka? I have heard a couple of guys at the college I went to say it, but whenever they do I say that it's "hecka lame."
Me: Don't bash on my beloved Cali slang. "Flossy?" Have you heard that one before? That's from WAY WAY WAY NorCal.
Elliot: That's janky, we don't say that.
Me: Janky? What is that?
Elliot: It's like whack. What the crap is "flossy?" Is it like dank or cool or tight?
Me: Yeah, it's like "that's hecka tight" or "that's hecka flossy."
Elliot: I don't believe you.
The rest of the meal was filled with random intervals of one of us remembering some obscure piece of slang that we use (I introduced "uber," "derp," and "noob" to him) and shouting to the other one. It was hilarious and entertaining but definitely a culture clash. When the check came, it included a customer survey. I hijacked the survey and pen from my parents and, after complimenting the delicious food (If you're ever in South Carolina, definitely go to Gilligan's. It's fantastic and the hush puppies are to die for.) I proceeded to fill out the "Comments" section as follows:
"Derp. This food was awesome. Elliot is uber flossy and hecka dank. He was most definitely not janky nor a noob."
We put the survey in the check and started to walk out of the restaurant. As we did, we ran into another employee and started to chat because, well, that's what we do in my family. I was still laughing about the slang thing when the other employee looked at me and said, "That was you? Elliot came out here five minutes ago to tell us we had to start saying "flossy" and "derp." Haha, that's hilarious!" I continued to crack up and my family began to walk away. As we were crossing the street I looked behind me at the restaurant's entrance to see Elliot race out of the restaurant to show the comment card to the other employee. The guys saw me and we all laughed for some time.
Moral of the story? If you live in South Carolina and start hearing people say "derp," "flossy," "uber," "hecka," or "noob," you're welcome. I have left my mark on Southern society.