ich bin ein burbanker
can people tell from whence you hail? i'm betting that i'm not the only academic who confounds new friends who try to place them geographically.
today, for the third time this month, i've been told that i looked/sounded/acted californian. admittedly, as a minnesota kid who has never lived west of the mississippi, i kind of like this. today it was a friendly santa barbarian grad student; at ASA it was an old buddy who said i'd gone californian; a few weeks ago it was a baseball dad who assumed california was the place i oughta be; in june, it was some brooklyn musicians at my sister's coffee shop. it must be time for a haircut. or maybe i should just stop using vibe as a verb.
someday i'd like to be mistaken for a new yorker, but i can't see that happening without cns stimulants more powerful than sis' coffee. new yorkers tend to assume i'm from sweden or norway -- not that i'm of swedish or norwegian descent, mind you, but that i actually come from scandinavia. i've never had that reaction in minnesota, where lots of folks look a lot like me, but occasionally i'd hear it in wisconsin. when i first met gordie rom, a fine old madison electrician, he exclaimed "why, he's got the map o' norway written on his face!" my kids get that a lot too, especially the one named after the norse thunder god.
sometimes non-minnesotans will note approvingly that i don't have a minnesota accent, though these folks generally expect us to sound like marge gunderson in fargo (btw, how could you do that to us, joel and ethan? meryl streep got way closer in a prairie home companion). my kids' friends and coaches sometimes assume i'm "from england" or "european," probably due to the stilted academicspeak we pick up in the business and my non-normative fashion choices (e.g., a black turtleneck, blazer, and boots look very european at a wrestling match). i'm generally amused, though i've been known to go off when relative newcomers call me out by suggesting i'm "not from around here." i was born in st. paul, dude! i'm talkin' old-time boca chica-schmidt brewery-shakey walton-wabasha caves-red's savoy old-time freakin' st. paul, dude!
despite all that, i sort of like being californian, though i'm not sure what that means in this schwarzeneggerian era. if you ask me, californians sound a lot like minnesotans.
where do they place you when they say, you're not from around here, are you?