Monday, May 4, 2009

Fixin' - it's a Southern Thing

We fix dinner. We fix a crack. We fix a hole. We fix the car. We fix (many) a drink. We fix anything that is broken (sooner or later).

After thirteen years, I am still considered to be a "Northerner". However, if we are concerned with geographically-correct placement, I am a "Midwesterner". I have a slight, very slight, drawl only when speaking with other Southerners, and only if they happen to have a serious accent. At home, we speak Midwestern, which is basically a dialect with a non-existing accent.

One day, Victoria came home from Preschool announcing that tomorrow is "Shoooooooooooow -in - Taaaaaaaaaale" day.

me: "What kind of day is it?"

Victoria: "I said, shoooooooooow-in-taaaaaaaaale." (duh) "The kind of day that you bring in an item to show the class and then you have to tale all about it." "It's the best kind of day."

me: "Oh!"

So the following day Victoria took an ammonite.

Ahhh. Cute. Victoria's first drawled word.

I heard it again. Victoria came home singing "Jingle Bells" -- a tune stuck in her head since her class was preparing for their Christmas program.

"jangle bails, jangle bails, jangle all the waaaaay..."

And again, "I ahm fuh-iiiii-ve yeeears old".

Now, I am nauseated, not naw-ze-ay-ted.

When I first landed in Fort Worth, I worked with thick Southern accents. Initially, I had a difficult time processing their sentences if the accent was too deep. A co-worker was rushing around to end her day. She announced "I'm fixin' to go on vacation". I stared at her. "Fixin' what?", I wondered. What would one possibly be fixing on vacation? That is definitely not my idea of a vacation, a working vacation.

I am praying that Victoria doesn't learn and use this particular ear-numbing Southern word, "fixin'". How will we explain that word to our non-Texan relatives? Recently, I have heard fixin' spewed from two classmates' mouths. The two classmates are now on our "Do NOT Play with" list.

I am still in awe. Victoria learned to speak from her Northern parents. Yet, she has developed a Southern accent via osmosis, against any accentless persuasion . It is inevitable that she have a Southern accent, after all, she was born a Texan. She is a Texan. She is not from Michigan. She is not from Montana. She is Texan, born and raised.

And I know little sister, Petra, will soon utter her first Southern drawled word. Please don't let it be fixin'.

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