You can occasionally hear it in my voice. It’s the pesky “a” sound that makes hospital sound more like haspital and coffee sound more like caffee. You may even catch me using the expression “Alls I’m saying…” when I summarize something in my own persuasive way. These pronunciations and expressions are most prevalent if I’ve just gotten off the phone with my mom.
My mother lives in Western New York, which, to be clear is not Upstate New York. Western New York is the most western region of the Empire State that points like the tip of an arrow towards the west. It’s where one would find Niagara Falls and Buffalo and Rochester.
I grew up in Western New York, but that does not make me a New Yorker. A New Yorker is someone who lives in New York City, which is 300-some miles east of WNY. I was born and raised in WNY and lived there for 17 years and 364 days—from the moment I was born until the day before my 18th birthday when I went off to college in Boston. For the next few years, I ping-ponged around from Boston to London and Colorado before heading back to Boston. And not long before my 23rd birthday I moved to San Francisco. I’ve been in the Bay Area ever since.
That’s a good long 18 years and change, thus breaking my record for living anywhere… Honestly, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. And for the time being I cannot live anywhere else. This is where my kids live; this is where they go to school; this is where their dad lives. I do not have the luxury of even entertaining the idea of packing up and moving my family unit to another town or another state or another country at least until the last of my kids head off to college.
So it’s official—I’m a Californian. Unless of course, I have to wait until I’ve lived here for more than half my life, in which case I’ve got another three years. None of this has any real significance aside from being a mental milestone or a tick in my timeline. However, it does come with another realization. R is 11 1/2 and my youngest turned 8 last week. Alls I’m saying is that—poof—life happens fast.