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You know you're in Baltimore when ...

You know you’re in Baltimore when ...

you walk past a rowhouse and notice that the welcome mat says:


When do you know you’re in Baltimore?



Posted by John McIntyre at 1:43 PM | | Comments (22)


When someone you've never met before calls you "Hon."

...after it snows, the north-south streets are plowed, but not the east-west ones. think it snowed a lot until you realize the white stuff's just the prophylactic salt. ask a person where they live, and they give you the name of a neighborhood.

...the grocery store cashier calls you "hon", "dear" and "sweetheart" all in the space of 20 seconds.

And finally, let's just say that the experience of being a med student in Baltimore could furnish a whole separate list.

. . . I do a home visit for one of my students and the adult answering the door asks me if I'm the probation officer. (this is funnier if you know what I look like).

I'm not from Baltimore, but I very much want to be after reading these :)

I know I am home when I ask if someone is finished with something, say folding clothes and the reply is:

"Yeah, I am done that".

Be it ever so humble...

When speaking of a day of the week and the reply is "Mondee or Tuesdee" the ay is never there on any of the days. Me included and made fun of. Oh well.

When someone asks you for a glass of wooter.

Where did you see that?!

I saw that doormat in, of all places, Bolton Hill.

I can think of a couple of political names who reportedly live in Bolton Hill.

Hilarious. Where'd you hear that joke? Or is that just one of those "been around forever" bits?

I know I'm in Baltimore when a new acquaintance asks where I went to school, and they don't mean college.

I was just reminded of one this morning.

You know you’re in Baltimore when the rowhouse denizens dutifully shovel up all the snow on the sidewalk, leaving a nice blank canvas for the sheet of ice to cover. It never occurs to anyone that if you’re lucky enough to have snow before the ice, you have to leave it there to give pedestrians traction. (You can stomp down and sink through the ice into the snow, as opposed to just sliding around on top of an immoveable sheet of ice on concrete.)

As a native of Tennessee, where they get more ice than snow (and much more ice than we get in MD), I wish every time we get ice that people would stop and think before they reflexively shovel.

And also:

You know you're in Baltimore when you see that someone has cleared a parking space in front of a rowhouse and placed a couple of dilapidated kitchen chairs to reserve it.

You know you're in Baltimore when (1) they call it "Balmer" (cf. "Saracuse" for Syracuse), and (2) the very best seafood restaurants have newsprint for tablecloths and rolls of paper towels for napkins.

About reserving parking spaces: A few Baltimore winters ago I was pulling into a head-on parking space at night when I noticed a baby's car seat in it. I hit the brakes, stopped breathing, and finally staggered out to see that the seat was empty.

John, I didn't post about the lawn chairs because I've seen them in my business travels to Philadelphia and Wilmington as well. I'm not sure if they're also illegal, as they are here, but ignored by police who have bigger and smellier fish to fry.

KristenB... the law in baltimore requires you to clean off the sidewalk in front of your house. The only places that still have ice in my neighobourhood are the ones that were never cleared. The ones that were shoveled... clean and dry.

I know I'm in Bawlmer when the folks I talk with think they're in the South because they're just below the Mason-Dixon Line.

you know your from baltimore wen you pronounce it like it has a d in it

you know your from baldimor if you move to the county and have trouble cashing a check because theres no check cashing hubs

You know you are from Baltimore when someone asks you where you went to school and you reply with the name of your high school

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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