I’m Valentine deFrancis, and I’m a writer from New York. Today, I would like to talk to you about stereotypes and how a typical New Yorker is stereotyped as, well, not so bright. Now I know that TV and movies depict New Yorkers as sausage eating, money hungry, pushy, arrogant, gangster-leaning types, but of all those things, what gets me the most is how our intelligence is based upon our accents. It’s true. Hey, listen. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Yeah. That’s right. Brooklyn—the pizza capital of the world; the place where John Travolta struts his bad-ass self in Saturday Night Fever. Yep, that’s where I was raised. But here is where the whole thing starts going uphill. People naturally think that New Yorkers are not sophisticated because we have that accent. Know what I mean? Let me educate you on our wordage, if I may.
The entire U. S. says the word coffee as follows: caa fee
A New Yorker says caw fee.
The entire U. S. says the word water as: waa ter
A New Yorker says waw ta
The U. S. says hello
A New Yorker says yo, whas up?
The U. S. says, forget about it.
A New Yorker says fuhgeddaboudit
The U. S. says, thirty third and third
A New Yorker says tirdy tird and tird
But people, does that make us stupid?
I was speaking to some friends from Myspace on the phone and each one of them giggled at my accent. Each one of them said, “Gee Val, I never expected you to sound so New Yorkish.”
Heck, people. What the hell am I supposed to sound like? A Frenchie? A Brit? A Korean? I’m a New Yorker! I’m supposed to sound this way, but that doesn’t negate my brilliance. Did I mention that New Yorkers are also very modest?
Just because I have this Brooklyn accent doesn’t mean that I was raised in a cabbage patch. Oh contrare, my lovelies. This Brooklyn native is quite intelligent and more than on her toes. You have to wake up prit-ty darn early to get over on me or any New Yorker for that matter. Get a load of this little diddy that happened two days before I flew out to Vegas last week.
I went online to purchase my plane tickets, and I happened to notice that you can buy extra leg room for $30.00 per person. I’m 5’7″, and the boyfriend is 6″, so I say to myself . . . great. I’ll buy the seats with the extra leg room. Who cares about the $30.00 per person. I need to be comfortable when I’m flying. Of course, my boyfriend doesn’t care where he sits because he’s a commercial pilot, and he’s used to sitting anywhere. So I buy the seats with the extra leg room.
Twenty-four hours before my flight, I print the boarding passes, and I see a little notation that advertises the extra leg room seats for $10 per seat. I say to my New York self, WTF? They ain’t rippin’ me off. So I call them, and this is the brilliant answer I get.
JetBlue, my name is Betty, how can I help you today?
Yes, I purchased two seats to Las Vegas, and I paid $30.00 per person for the extra leg room seats. I just printed my boarding passes and noticed that you are now selling the extra leg room for $10.00 per seat. I want my account credited for $40.00.
Let me check that for you ma’am.
I tap my pen and begin to softly hum, and then she comes back on the line.
Ms. deFrancis, the reason you were charged $30.00 per seat is because you have a longer flight time.
I laugh out loud.
Let me get this straight. I am charged more money for the same seat because I will be on the plane for an hour more? What kind of nonsense is that?
Well, Ms. deFrancis, if you think about it, it makes sense.
Oh it does, does it? Explain how.
Well, your legs will be stretched out for a longer duration, she says.
I bulge my eyes and shake my head, wondering if I heard her correctly.
Repeat that again?
Yes, Ms. deFrancis. Because you are using the plane’s seat longer, we charge you more.
I stare at my refrigerator for approximately 3 seconds before my New York attitude kicks in. Where are you located, Betty?
I’m located in Utah, she says.
Hmmm, Utah. Well, let me tell you something, Betty, from Utah. Do you expect me to buy that line of shit? Is that what JetBlue tells you to tell your customers, or are you just winging it? I have never been so insulted. What kind of crap is that? The plane and the seats are still the plane and the seats whether I fly to Florida or Vegas. So you’re saying that because I stretch my legs for 2 hours more, I’m charged for it?
Well, umm, yes Ms. deFrancis. That’s our policy.
DO YOU HONESTLY EXPECT ME TO FALL FOR THAT LINE OF HORSE HOCKEY?
Ummm, I can see you’re upset, she says.
No Betty, I’m not upset. I’m insulted at your pathetic attempt to demean my intelligence with that absurd answer.
I hang up on her.
Now people, tell me. Did that make any sense to you? I may have a New York accent, but I don’t hear with an accent. Geesh, give me a break!