"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

flashback to Jersey in Alaska

OK. Someone posted today about city-folks complaining about hiking a mountain that was "too tall". And it totally flashed me back to our Alaska trip several years ago. I searched everywhere and it would appear that I DID NOT blog this story! And how is that even possible??

So I'm going to tell it to you now.

We were in Alaska. While there, we did a day trip into Denali National Park, which was ... how can I explain ... breathtaking ... fascinating ... stunningly beautiful ... filled with stories and knowledge from a bus driver who chatted non-stop for hours while navigating wildlife and a one-lane road.

You can't drive into Denali on your own. And you absolutely cannot leave anything behind. Not even a cookie wrapper. They're serious about their wilderness, so you can go on a tour, but it is tightly controlled.

And worth every single second.

Honestly. It was amazing.

But the next day, on the next leg of our Alaskan trip, we found ourselves in a restaurant with other tourists. And the lady at the next table was complaining loudly about HER trip into Denali. In a very strong New Jersey accent. She kind of had the visual style of the mom in Everybody Loves Raymond - remember her?

Picture this....

... And then add in a New Jersey accent.

Because I can't type the accent.
I can mimic it.
I can TELL this story in person like nobody's business.
But I can't type the accent.
I'll try.
It won't do it justice.

Spike, my friendly, mischievous, extrovert-of-a-husband grinned and said to me, "Watch this." Leaned over and asked, all charming-like, "Are you from New York?"

She rolled her eyes sarcastically. "Jersey. How can you tell? The accent, right?"

Spike smiled and said, "So ... you didn't like Denali National Park?"

"UGH!" she said dramatically. "You know ... I've been on othah trips. I've been to Vegas ... I've been to Flahrida ... I've been to Califohn-ya ... and they were great. Just fabulous. But this one ... ugh. You know - we were on a bus for EIGHT OW-WAHS. (That's "hours" in Jersey-speech.) I thought it would nevah end. And they kept pointing out rivahs. And trees. Just rivahs and trees, and a mountain, ovah and ovah and ovah again ("rivers and trees, over and over again").

Note: the "mountain" was actually Denali,
or Mount McKinley.
It's the tallest mountain in North America.
Otherwise known as the Jewel of Alaska.
There are no words to describe its beauty.

She sighed, and until that moment, I did not know you could sigh with a New Jersey accent.

But you can.

"I finally went to the drivah," she said. "I couldn't take it anymore. So I went to him, I went to him, and I sez to him .... IZ ZEER A MUWALL ENYWHEYAH???"

*hands up if you know what that says ...
sound it out ...
listen for the accent ...
"is there a mall anywhere??"*

"And you know what?" she finished triumphantly. "He didn't have an ansah. Nothing to say at all."

"Yeah," said Spike. "I bet he didn't."


To this day, Spike and I can say that line at any moment - IZ ZEER A MUWALL ENYWHEYAH?? - and then lose it laughing, because "Jersey" (as we call her fondly) came to the wilds of Alaska, did a day trip into a wilderness-like national park, and complained because ... because ... because ... there was no mall. Just rivers and trees. And a mountain.

Props to the driver for remaining speechless.

But I wonder when the screaming in his head faded away.

1 comment:

old_black said...

Ha ha. Those crazy Americans! I certainly can picture and hear the person you described. Great restraint by the driver.