When I was at UNC Wilmington, you can imagine I was something of an odd duck. I was one of only a few Midwesterners there, though, there was another girl from Minnesota.
Most of the people on my floor in the dorm were from North Carolina. There was a guy from Maryland and one from Pennsylvania. And a girl from New Jersey, too. Jeff, the guy from Pennsylvania, took to calling me Miss North Dakota, because he said I talked like his Grandma, who was from Fargo. I countered with calling him Duckie, which he hated. But dammit, he did kinda look like Duckie Dale.
Eventually, I was able to convince everyone to at least call me Miss Minnesota. Small victories, you know? As it turned out, by the time I was ready to come back to Minnesota, my accent was so strong that even my roommate's dad couldn't tell us apart on the phone. Not only that -- I developed something of a country North Carolina accent. Nice!
But it didn't take long for my Minnesota accent to come back. I think I sometimes slip into that Southern accent if I've been drinking and I'm around people with an accent, but it's much more rare than it used to be. And since I live in Minneapolis and grew up in southern Minnesota, I don't have that strong, Fargo-y Minnesota accent. In fact, I didn't believe people in Minnesota actually had that strong of an accent until the day I visited Crookston not long after I finished college. It was the first time I'd ever heard anyone use the phrase "uff da" in an actual sentence.
But, my Minnesota accent does come out in full force every now and then. I was visiting my friend Malina out in the DC suburbs a few years ago, with our friend Shirin, who lives in Oakland. We were at the Bistro having some drinks and God only knows what we were talking about and I said, "Oh, for fuck's sake."
Those two girls lost it. They imitated me forever. Apparently, that's one phrase I use that really puts my accent on display.
So, I suppose that explains why I thought Marge Gunderson was in the car with me when the third or fourth car jumped in the lane in front of me on my drive home because I wasn't all up on the ass of the car in front of me, forcing me to slam on my brakes and causing me to yell, "Oh for fuck's sake!"
It's pretty bad when you can hear your own accent, right?