A New Take On a Boston Accent (Life Humor)

Be careful. Be very, very careful.

© Andrew Lukatskiy via

Warning: People who live in non-rhotic northeastern states not only drop their ‘r’s,’ but they also aren’t known for talking to strangers, being patient — or having a sense of humor, for that matter. This came to my attention by accident.

A job transfer to Boston occasioned a relocation from Atlanta and took us to live in the northeast. The cost of living is 43% less in Rhode Island than in Boston, so we opted to live just over the border in Providence, Rhode Island, and commute to BeanTown every day.

On one of my first grocery runs in Providence, there I was, minding my own business and patiently waiting in the checkout lane at our local Stop-N-Shop grocery store. Useful trivia for transplants: There are no Krogers or Publix stores there. (You’re welcome.)

It was a busy day, and there was a long line. One by one, the busy shoppers checked out, leaving only one person in front of me. About this time, a clerk came walking by and observed the queue blocking the main walkway at the front of the store — snaking its way down the aisle.

She stepped over to the next register and flipped on her light to rectify the situation, announcing a new checkout lane was opening. She saw me watching her, so she motioned for me to come over there.

Miss Manners

But— being the nice person that I am — I thought the friendly ‘southern thing’ to do would be to back up and let the person in front of me be the one to go over to the new line. After all, she was technically next.

As I began reversing my cart (more useful trivia: they call shopping carts ‘carriages’ or ‘buggies’). I politely suggested that the woman in front of me move to the new line, stating that I was in no rush.

Rather than uttering the monosyllabic ‘thanks’ I was expecting, she snorted and harrumphed as she stomped by — nearly side-swiping me as she careened around on two wheels. Woo hoo! Miss High-And-Mighty was going to claim her pole position.

She gave me a glaring icy stare as she sped by, leaving skid marks on the floor tiles. Miss Southern-Manners here was gobsmacked. I felt behind me for my fainting couch; I was getting ‘the vapors’. Had I just been all-nice-and-neighborly-like — and now this ingrate was acting like I had done something to her.

Well, that did it!

That’s when my humor imp pulled another, ‘Why not say it? Let’s see what happens’ hijackings.

As she began unloading her ‘carriage’ (still very much within earshot), I held my hands out — palms up — imitating a demonstrative Italian mob boss. Using my best Boston accent, I snarked: “Whatsamatteru?! Would it breakauface to smile? Don’t youz know how to say tank you?”


A nanosecond later, my common sense kicked in gear and yanked my chain to pull me up short, “Did ‘youz’ just say that out loud?”

Hearing that, my gift of fear flipped on the red/blue strobe lights and siren as I realized the ramifications of making such a remark, considering where I was. I put my head down, white-knuckled the cart handles, stared straight ahead, and acted as if I had said nothing.

Luckily, I didn’t get punched in the face right there; or followed to my car for a beat down by Miss Congeniality after leaving the store.

So what did we learn, dear?

I learned that — similar to remember to set the emergency brake when parking a car on a hill in San Francisco — I was going to have to remember to put the brakes on my humor and keep impulsive commentary in draft mode if I planned to reside in a town known to have once been run by the mob.

Yet again — Joe Q Public reminds me that sometimes you gotta laugh at life — even if you’re the only one appreciating the joke.

I ended up living there for five years. Eventually, I found a way to fit in, but it took a little coaching:

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Taylor-Grace Davidson

Taylor-Grace Davidson


Invert. Always Invert. Flip problems upside down & address them backward. Avoiding stupidity IS better than seeking brilliance.