It’s a Baltimore Thang Yo

On Friday, I was kicked in the ass by regional dialect. I live in DC and I’ve worked in Baltimore for the last two years. Other than driving thru the tunnels on my way to and from NYC, and the occasional stroll around the Inner Harbor, I’d not spent much time in Baltimore. I’m still trying to understand the folks here, but needless to say, they’re a little different. *lol* Thank God that “The Wire” helps me translate alot of my conversations.

There’s a young, 19 year old security guard at my job. Let’s call her Tyra, as an ode to her ever changing hairstyles over the two years that I’ve known her. I’ve yet to see her real hair and I’m quite curious, as I know that the blue and yellow wigs circa Li’l Kim, Crush on You, 1997, are not the real deal. And of course the fire red shag and the elbow length blond cornrows worn in the same week are definitely not natural.

With all her fashion and style misgivings, Tyra is a sweet girl. She calls herself, “Baltimore’s Finest” and in many ways, I can see it. She’s a freshman at Loyola and she holds down a full time security job. She still talks just like she’s from a corner somewhere in west Baltimore and she’s proud of it. She reminds me of someone who really wants to live in both worlds. But, I’ll get into that more in a future post.

One day, she and I were discussing food items. She had a craving for an “onion pickle”. Wow. That brought back memories!! I can recall being a kid, growing up in Hempstead, Long Island (NY). Every Saturday morning after Girl Scouts, my mother and I would go to a place called Shoppers Village. It was basically a big warehouse, with about 100 vendor booths inside. Man, you could buy anything there from gold jewelry to homemade gyros. Our favorite place was the pickle stand. They had big barrels of fresh pickles – dill, onion, sweet, garlic, etc. You ordered and store keeper would serve your pickle to you in rectangular plastic bag, full of pickle juice.

Anyways, Tyra told me that there was a spot around her way that sold the best “onion pickle” she’d ever had. She offered to get me one and quicker than she could finish her sentence, I had pulled out two dollar bills. Tyra said that she would pick them up on Friday on her way in. On Friday, I looked forward to her arriving like a kid in a candy store. I hadn’t had an “onion pickle” in over 10 years. 12:30 rolled around and she came into my office swinging a small, black, plastic shopping bag. Ya’ll know the kind that the corner stores use. I could smell the vinegar and could already taste my pickle. I had a silly, childlike grin on my face. Until Tyra pulled these out of the bag:

Huh? WTF? An onion? A damned pickled onion? Huh? Tyra couldn’t understand my confusion and I had to get my raised in Baltimore, educated in Philly co-worker to explain it. Ya’ll, these folks call a “picked onion” an “onion pickle”. Whoa! Stop! Flag on the play for incorrect usage of an adjective and a noun. Wrong. Just plain wrong. Let’s break down what the terms should mean. An “onion pickle” should refer to a cucumber that has been pickled in vinegar, and marinated in chopped onions. A “pickled onion” should refer to a peeled onion that has been pickled in vinegar. My friends, those are two very different things. As a matter of fact, Tyra told me that she’s never even tried an actual pickle, “…except for the ones that McDonalds use.” Oh baby girl.

So, at the end of the day, I never got my pickle, Tyra ate my onion and her own, and I got schooled in a little bit of B’more.


19 thoughts on “It’s a Baltimore Thang Yo

  1. I am absolutely dying. I worked in Baltimore for a spell. That’s the only reason I know what a chicken box is. Ugh!!

    Did you say Hempstead? I was just there this summer for a wedding.

    MY G!

    YOUR FACE MUSTA CRACKED! I know mine woulda! LOL!

    Girl…you bring me joy!


    Man…that story was funny as hell. Goes to show you the difference between cities….

    But still….funny as hell…..BWAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAA

  4. LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! This is the FUNNIEST ISH I’ve read today! Oh my GOD!!!!! hahahahaha!!!! I’m thinking, “Dang, Taya, gone get her pickle eat ON!” Then I see some darn pearl onions!!!!! BWWWWAAAAHHHH!!!! Good one, girl! Good one!

  5. And ya’ll? I still want my pickle!!

    @ Hostess – Yes, Hempstead is my home. Still miss it and the family. Girl, a chicken box and a half & half are terms that I’ve just recently learned.

  6. hahahahahahahaha

    this is the nightmare I’ve been living for years. I’m from Philly, it’s called a CHEESE STEAK. as in a steak smothered in cheese.
    Here in DC they call their flat wafer steak-um version a steak&cheese. Blasphemy!!!
    and fraud

  7. LMAO! I tell you, these regional and even city dialects just crack me up. I used to have lunch with a DC native from the “hood” and learned all sorts of interesting things when I first moved to DC.

  8. @ Philly – Guuurl, as a NY girl, I sure know the difference. Cheesesteak forever!! No Steak and Cheese! Yick!

    @ Honest – you are so right. We could talk about Half Smokes, Mumbo sauce and all that jazz. *lol*

    @ Shawn – Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I’m sorry for you girl…I know how it feels to have your mouth all tuned up for something in particular and then get disappointed. DAG! And never had a pickle??? Is she for real?

  10. OMG, too funny!

    Ever since I moved to DC, I’ve been amazed at how different culturally DC and Bmore are especially since they are so close. I’d never heard of a chicken box either, and I also had a bad run in with an onion pickle.


    OMG see I woulda hurt her!! LOL daaaaaaaaaaamn

    well next time ask her for a lake trout box

  12. @ Darbs – Yes, she has never actually ate a pickle, with the exception of sliced pickles on fast food sandwiches. Whoa.

    @ Tasha – Girl, they (DC and B’more) might as well be NY and LA in terms of the differences! And that damned onion!

    @ Ms. Lee – Thanks for stopping by! A chicken box is a meal of 4 chicken wings with fries, sold at a “joint”, typically with a half & half (half iced tea, half lemonade)

    @ BK – Girl, the first time they gave me Lake Trout, I tore that box up. I prefer steakfish though.

  13. Ooooh there are just sooo many things for one to learn about Bmore, I dont think an entire lifetime could do!

  14. Nothing to do with your post, but I also grew up in Hempstead, NY. I attended Franklin Elementary, Hempstead Middle, and Hemptead High School (2 years. I greaduated from Westbury High School in 1987. I also shooped in Shoppers village.

    Small World

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