Dead Giveaways Of City Status


January 28, 1996|By JACQUES KELLY

You know you are a Baltimorean when ...

You run red lights as if traffic laws were written for other people, not you.

You regard the lighted mansard roof of the NationsBank Building as the crowning glory of old downtown Baltimore's architecture.

You plan to visit the Visionary Arts Museum, but know full well you won't get around to it until the year 2000.

You pay in cash and go to any extreme to avoid putting a 32-cent stamp on a bill. Instead, you use shoe leather or gasoline to pay that bill in person.

You judge a restaurant by the quality of its coleslaw and expect that dish to be on the menu, no matter what.

You serve macaroni and cheese and sauerkraut at the major winter holidays.

You like gravy on your french fries and frown on foreign substances, such as Old Bay seasoning, being put on potatoes.

You prefer chain-link fences. You aren't big on fancy Williamsburg or Connecticut-style pickets.

You occasionally secure tomato plants upright to chain-link fences with old nylon stockings.

You double-park at the drop of a hat, especially when half the street is wide open and free of parked cars.

You judge musical events you attend by the standard of your home church choir.

You clip newspaper coupons and shop for cheap gasoline.

Your trouser cuffs are above the ankle.

Your favorite snowball flavor is chocolate, egg custard or pineapple. You must have marshmallow on top.

You expect that mayonnaise will be slathered on a submarine sandwich.

You also have grown to expect a soggy, soft sub roll though you yearn for the crispy rolls served on a Philadelphia hoagie.

You embellish your license plate with a frame of gold chains.

You believe the Inner Harbor is dandy for out-of-state tourists, but find excuses to visit there yourself.

In the same vein, you have never been on a water taxi at the harbor. Nor have you visited the Marine Mammal Pavilion at the National Aquarium.

You insert the article "the" in front of York, Harford, Belair and Reisterstown roads.

You regard the marigold and cockscomb (celosia) as the loveliest flowers in the garden.

You don't tell anyone, but you believe in dream books.

You play the lottery because you insist to yourself that should you win big, you'll use the money to make a trip to the Holy Land.

You get butterflies in your stomach when you drive over the Bay Bridge.

You never worry about looking frumpy because you know your competition isn't too strong.

You are not sure what lake trout is but you eat it.

You tense up at the prices for hot dogs and beer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

You usher all guests into your damp basement (euphemistically known as a club cellar), even though there is a warm and dry living room available with comfortable chairs. The club cellar seats are folding chairs.

Even though you gave up shopping in downtown Baltimore sometime in the Tommy D'Alesandro administration, you still have pleasant thoughts about the old department stores and wish they were still flourishing. But even if they were still open, you probably wouldn't shop at them.

You never park your car in your garage. As every Baltimorean knows, garages are for the storage of porch furniture and crab steaming pots. Streets and curbs are made for cars.

You refer to paid cleaning help as "my maid," even though you know full well this is an illusion.

You wear black to funerals and have a healthy respect for cemeteries. You save the little memorial cards given out at funeral homes.

Your medicine cabinet has at least one remedy for a sinus condition induced by high humidity.

When asked for directions, you display a major geographic ignorance of Baltimore. When you do try to help, you mention three or four landmarks that were torn down years ago.

You freeze up when you have to visit exotic spots such as Essex or Columbia.

You refer to married women by their maiden name, perhaps even their mother's maiden name.

You feel that neat school uniforms are as important as high Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores.

You drink iced tea year-round.

Even though Baltimore is a huge seafood town, you don't cook fish at home because of the smell.

You expect the city's night life to cool down before the 11 o'clock news.

You never take the Christmas wreath off your front door before the middle of February.

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