I don’t like people with thick New York accents anymore. My aversion to this is the definition of irony, since I have one myself. I’m self-loathing.
It makes me uncomfortable to hear it. I’m embarrassed for the person. When I hear my own voice on tape, I cringe, because I’ve actually done some work to get rid of the damned thing. It’s not nearly as bad as it once was, but it’s a hell of a lot more noticeable than I think it is while I’m speaking. I’ve learned it’s one of those things you have to exaggerate. If I want my speech to be Queens-free, I essentially have to fake a British accent. It’s that ingrained.
I’m not ashamed, mind you. It’s a matter of personal preference. I’d just rather not sound like I sound. I’d rather not have “youse” and “alls” and “he ain’t doin’ nothin’” sneak into my everyday speech. Get me a little excited, however – or pissed off – and you’ll get shit straight out of Goodfellas. It’s fucking painful sometimes.
I was in the gym last night walking on the treadmill. I always walk on the treadmill for a while after I lift, because my heart rate is already elevated and because it’s good for recovery. I set the speed and the incline so my heart rate stays between 130 and 140 beats per minute (220 – age x 60-70% is the theoretical “fat burning zone,” and I’ve found this works for me). By the time I’ve lifted heavy weights for 45 minutes or so, it doesn’t take much to maintain this, and my joints feel a hell of a lot better afterward. I’m also burning fat like crazy.
Anyway, I was on the treadmill last night watching a tool with an accent hit on a girl. He wasn’t a club Guido type, per se, but this was still uncomfortable to watch. He was wearing jeans and work boots, and he had bolts tattooed on his neck. Typical New York 10 PM gym look.
“Hey, uh...howsabout you gimme yuh numbuh...and...uh...mebbe me an’ you could, ya know, go out or somethin’.”
This isn’t too bad, and I give the guy credit for trying, but then he ruined it:
“Uh...you got a boyfriend? You seein’ somebody?”
Now, I know this girl. She’s cute, and since I’ve been going to the same gym for a while now, we always say hello. I think you get to that point with pretty girls in gyms when they realize you’re not one of the pricks who’ll be in there hitting on them every five minutes. It’s safe to say hello.
The guy had his back to me, and the girl was sitting on a machine, facing me. I could hear everything they were saying. Every time she looked over, I gave her the thumbs-up and mouthed, “Awesome” at her.
Eventually, she lost it and started cracking up, right in the guy’s face. He wheeled around and looked at me, and he knew. “Okay, well,” he said to her. “You lemme know.” And then he walked away.
I feel like I violated the code. This really bothers me.