Regional Speech Chronology

In Philadelphia, I don’t talk particularly fast. My speaking isn’t exactly languorous, but neither is it frantic, and it’s slowed down a bit as I’ve consciously started trying to eliminate the “ums” and the “likes” and other verbal pauses from my speech. I’m taking time to think about my words, and it’s reflected in the pace of my speaking, if not necessarily in its eloquence.

 

In Des Moines, I’m practically John Moschitta, Jr.

 

I’ve only been here for a few days, and I’ve already cut off, interrupted or talked over innumerable people, both in person and on the phone. Not because I intend to, but because I think that the person I’m talking to has finished speaking, when in fact it’s only a pause between clauses. (Never mind the fact that you could drive an aircraft carrier through some of them.) I moved to a new town, and suddenly I’m a conversational Genghis Khan, sweeping across the steppes of discourse with my verbal hordes.

 

It’s disconcerting, and not just for the immediate mental image of flaming village(r)s. As a rule, I try to be polite. That way, people really notice when I decide to be rude. Here, though, I’m a furious bull in a china shop of dialog. If I find it necessary to deliberately insult someone, merely interrupting won’t be out of the ordinary enough to make an impact. I’ll have to resort to actual insults, and I’m afraid it’s going to get ugly.

 

Just like your mom.

 

See?

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