This month will mark my three year anniversary in the Philadelphia area; as I have each September since I've moved here, I venture out and embrace a part of the culture here that growing up in Michigan we simply did not do or have. Some of the things I've tried I love, others have been obligatory and I'm certain one-time events (such as cheese steaks and TastyKakes). This month, I was preparing myself to try a "water ice." It seems so innocuous really, and as a coworker commented today, surprising that I've never had one. But, the name "water ice" bothers me--from the first day in this area when my mom and I looked at each other and said: What the fuck?
It is an issue of language.
As someone who is as easily seduced by words as I am turned off, "water ice" makes my head want to spin. I've heard all the arguments about how it isn't redundant because ice is a different state than water, but I don't buy it as a counterpoint. I know the more proper convention is Italian ice, which really does sound sexy (and much better even than the Michigan equivalent "SnoCone" which I avoided in MI too), but I'm still reluctant for some reason.
Water ice isn't the only regional terminology I can't adapt to even after all this time. The word "hoagie" causes me a visceral reaction I can't quite figure out. Others, like "sneakers" seem like my Adidas are on an undercover mission of some kind; though I admit I've stopped referring to them as "tennis shoes" since moving here, compromising on "gym shoes" since that's about the only time I wear them.
Nonetheless, September 19 will be three years... and I'm wondering if my attendance at a Phillies game on Sunday can count as my truly Philadelphia experience? It isn't something I would normally have done, and if my friend hadn't given me her tickets, I wouldn't have gone. In fact, I take some amount of enjoyment on occasionally pulling out my Yankees hat for my Philly friends--not that I particularly care about the Yankees, either, but I got it when I lived in NYC. And besides, I'm from Michigan, we have the Lions and the Tigers--we NEED a sense of humor. And, since the Phils lost on Sunday, it did feel like I was "at home."