There’s this game we play in the car. Well, not really a game, I suppose. It’s more like this thing where my daughters ask me to be completely obnoxious and I comply.
“Hey, Mom, do that New York talk again,” Gwen calls from the back seat. “You know, the one when you tell us you’re going to flush our head down the toilet?”
It all started innocently enough. You see, I’ve tried very hard to rid myself of that tell-tale New York accent. I’ve stopped saying cawfee and dawg and mawl. I’ve tried really, really hard to remember the “g” at the end of any word ending in “ing” but I’ve failed miserably. I say things like, “Hey Hon, we’re goin’ to the mawl later” then stop and repeat the sentence, “Excuse me, Darling, but I am planning an outing to the mall this afternoon.”
As I repeat my properly enunciated sentence, I think I sound like a robot. Slightly more Niles the Butler than Fran the Nanny. No, that’s not right… I sound like some kind of weird Stepford Wife, but one who actually chose to remove the evidence of my prior existence. Dave would never dream of turning me into some sort of June Cleaver-ish robot clone of my former self.
Anyway, let’s face it. June Cleaver, I am not. Most definitely not.
I still drop my g’s and I have a hard time not swearing.
Sometimes it feels good to be New York and sometimes, as much as I don’t miss it, I just can’t help myself. I want to hop on 95 and head south. I want to walk into a deli and order pastrami on rye. I want a bagel. A real bagel. I’d kill for a hard roll. I want a mani/pedi from the Korean ladies on the corner and I’d happily pay $30 plus tip for the pleasure. I want to block to the box and flip someone the bird while I do it. I want to slide my freshly painted toes into a sweet pair of Choos and hail a taxi cab because there’s no way I’d walk more than four blocks and risk mangling my heels.
But I can’t.
So instead, I entertain my children with the “New York Deli Guy” on random drives.
I’m a cross between Robert DeNiro and Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny. Joe Pesci on 10.
And Gwen freakin’ loves it.
“Hey, kid,” I say, “Why don’t you shut your pie hole n’ give me a break, huh?”
So she goes, “Oh, yeah? Well I’ll punch you in the nose!”
“Yeah?” I ask. “Well how ‘bout I flush your head down the toilet two, tree times, huh?”
What’s the point, you ask? None really, except for the raucous giggles New York Deli Guy elicits from the back seats. Also, there’s that whole socially unacceptable method of stress relief thing. Because I’ve discovered that, at least half of the time, I actually mean it.