A couple of years ago, my friend graduated college and moved to Boston. So she said.
About four months in, I visited. She told me she worked late, so it’d be easiest if I took the train out from the city to meet her. The ride took an hour. This should have been clue #1, but I just assumed this was the average commute for a Bostonian.
Our first night, she took me to a wine bar. The bartender – who may have been flirting with me, who knows; isn’t that what you tip them to do? – asked me, “So what brings you to central Mass?”
Five minutes later, Google Maps is out, and my friend is explaining that she lives an hour and $10+ in tolls away from Boston—Worcester to be exact—but “that’s like living in Boston up here.”
I never called her out – moderns friendships seldom allow anything past “you do you” encouragement – but this has become an epidemic in our society.
Several spring breaks ago, I travelled to Savannah, GA with a friend who is from Chesapeake, VA. (Note: To keep the honesty that this rant advocates, we stayed on the outskirts of Savannah.) I was, factually, born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. So when locals asked where we were from, I answered (truthfully) Virginia Beach. And then my friend would say, also, Virginia Beach. Da fuxx is that? You are from Chesapeake, which has its own mayor, its own mall, and a non-measly population of 228,000. In fact, it’s the third most populous city in the has-been state of Virginia. And it’s not like people haven’t heard of the Chesapeake Bay – it’s sorta what killed the dinosaurs.
If you relate to this because you empathize – because you’ve been the person thinking “You don’t live in DC, you live at a metro stop in Maryland” – give me an amen. And if you relate to this because you are sinner, then you – yes, you, geographically illiterate impostor – listen up here and now: You do realize you’re lying, right? Do you think it’s worse to suffer the egotistical delusion that you live in the urban hub than to be a liar? Because I feel the kinder depiction is you’re a fraud.
Please stop characterizing the entire region you live in as some sprawling metropolis where the actual city is the collective downtown. In doing so, you disregard the bourgeoisie (like myself) who pay higher rent and taxes than you so that we can live in a community that has a distinct up-, down-, and midtown; may include skyscrapers, a.k.a. buildings that dwarf your suburban strip malls; and we don’t tolerate Walmarts within three miles of our central business district.
Plus, there is no easier way to get your township on the map than to actively promote it. When introducing your place of residence, just say: “I live in blank, but it’s a insert time drive to the city.” Unless you’re an hour away. Then admit it’s a day trip – unless you stay up for 24 hours; then it’s only half a day.
And if you insist on lying, then I insist you move.
Last year my Bostonian friend became an actual Bostonian. She moved to Brighton, which even the post office recognizes as part of Boston.