It’s a Baltimore Thing, Yo

Repost for 5/07:  I’m speechless behind Bambi’s latest brush with incompetence.  **deep sigh** I can’t even form the words to explain what she’s done.  I’ll tell ya’ll about it another day.

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, you know?  She understand the value of getting an education, but she wants to stay connected to her family and friends who have no interest in exploring a world outside of B’more.  I’ll get her life a little 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 the store keeper would serve your pickle to you in rectangular plastic bag, full of pickle juice.

Anyway, 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”.



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 that day, I never got my pickle, Tyra ate my onion and her own, and I got schooled in a little bit of B’more.  Wow.

Have ya’ll been the victim of regional dialect gone wrong????


39 thoughts on “It’s a Baltimore Thing, Yo

  1. “As a matter of fact, Tyra told me that she’s never even tried an actual pickle, “…except for the ones that McDonalds use.”

    *logs the hell OFF* |||||||||||||||||/////////////////________________________________

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha I seriously can’t even think straight enough right now to answer your question. Now, if you’ll excuse me I must go outside to get a breath of fresh air.

    • Whew, the hair. Um, yeah. I really, really wish that the blackberry didn’t flash and make a sound when you take pictures. If I could get shots of some of the foolishness that I see DAILY, ya’ll would be on the floor! Hmm, let me see if I can think of a way to capture the hilarity.

  2. LOL Girl, where are you meeting these people? I thought I’d met some characters living in Louisiana but ~wow! I’ll take the Coon Asses over these folks any day.

    • I have a trillion stories about the folks I work with. It’s like a strange, foreign land and I’m the only real “earthling”. They keep me laughing HARD!

  3. This is beyond funny. I know all too well what you mean. I live in the DC area and I try to spend as little time in B-more as I can… because I can’t understand them. LOL

    • Yes ma’am, they are so very different. I have a few friends who do not fit the image of the typical Baltimorean, but the rest? Um, erra, yeah. I need to just go to work and come home. The less time that I spend there, the better. The comedy is too overwhelming! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I’ve never eaten an onion pickle, but it doesn’t sound like anything I’d be interested, for obvious reasons. Unlike Tyra, I enjoy my onions simmered and surrounded by steak or pork chops. Lol.

    • Man, that thing was so very unappealing to me. I watched in disgust as she consumed it in delight.
      I’m not a big steak person, but smothered pork chops with onions and gravy is a winner in my house!

  5. I have no words! Okay a few! The hell!!! pickled onions????? Sounds like a crime against nature BLECHHHH!!!! And she’s never had a pickle except at McD’s Really???? I need her to stop lying! LOL!

  6. Stop. I’ve never heard of an onion pickle but I’m WAY more appalled at the thought of a PICKLED ONION!!!!! And how have you never had a pickle? I’m appalled. I hate sweet pickles. I threw up off of one once and haven’t been back to anything but a dill.

    • Doesn’t it just sound horrible? Ick! Yeah, I’m not a real fan of sweet pickles or even sweet relish. If you like dill pickles and the flavor of actual onions, you’d most likely enjoy an onion pickle.

  7. I don’t like pickle or onions. Yuck! I totally understand what you mean. I live in the south and I can barely understand what my patients are saying at work, or what anyone outside my home is saying for that matter. I don’t understand them then they do that thing–you know the one where they talk really loudly and expect that I will automatically understand what they are saying. Yah! Anyway, did you get your 2 dollars back?

    • LMAO @ them talking really loudly! Girl! It’s like, folks my hearing is fine, it’s YOUR dialect and region accents!
      And nah, I didn’t even think about asking for my $$ back. The irony of the moment threw me off my game.

  8. I don’t go up to Baltimore that often. It’s “different.” Not saying it’s better or worse than the DC area, it’s just…different. In a way that makes me want to drive back to DC immediately. LOL.

    • Exactly. Very, very different from DC. So close, yet oh so far away. Like Earth vs. Mars. *lol* I’m still amazed that I’ve been working up there for 6 years.

  9. Lol too funny. I can bring you some pickles when I come to DC. I will go to shoppers villiage. The pickle man is back, girl.

    • I was!! Remember that scene in Harlem Nights when Red Foxx left a corner of orange juice in the container and Della Reese fussed him out? I felt the same way! Had my mouth all set for an onion pickle and she brought me that bullshat!

  10. I remember visiting my cousin in Baltimore every summer as a kid. They called me country, coming from North Carolina. Fast forward about 20 years and revisiting with my kids. We talking ‘Bama! I can’t believe they had me shook! Way more backwards and ghetto than my Charlotte, NC!

  11. Wow, sorry you were in anticipation for no reason, but this was quite entertaining. I threw my head back with laughter. While this has never happened to me, I can almost envision your (devastated) reaction… 🙂

    • I was truly crushed!! She brought me straight back to childhood and had my mind & mouth all set on that onion pickle. Hmph!
      Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll come back again!

  12. Shit. Now I need a pickle to go with my sausage. I never thought I’d want a pickle ever again in life after Phaedra.

    Pickles and sausage….dp?? LOL My bad.

    You have the best stories. I love them.

  13. The only regional thing that has thrown me is asking for a Coke.

    Some places equate Coke with liquid refreshment.


    Like…I want a red and white Coke-a-Cola, the ones that used to have actual cocaine in them.

    I don’t want a Pepsi, a peach Nehi, or a 7up, or anyother “drink.” I said I wanted a Coke and that’s what I want!

    • LOL @ a red and white Coke-a-Cola! Ugh, that would really, really bother me.
      I’m actually a Pepsi girl myself, but I understand the irritation because they are all different and you want what you want.
      One down side of visiting my family in August, GA was the inability find Pepsi once you got to GA.
      Coca Cola has that state on LOCK! *lol* We used to feel slimy because we had to go to this one corner store and they kept the Pepsi in the back fridge. They were from NY too!

    • OMG, you know she does!!!! That “dug” got me for a few minutes one day. I kept scrunching my face up as she was talking about the new “dug” that she had bought for little brother. It wasn’t until a heard “take him to the vet” that I understood what the heck she was trying to say. **smh** B’more is a very different kinda place.

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