Rhode Islanders call shopping carts carriages, drinking fountains “bubblas” (or bubblers, if you pronounce your “r”s, which are optional), and apparently (this I haven’t been able to verify yet), see-saws i.e. teeter-totters are called danglers. Sounds filthy. Then there’s the best one: milkshakes are called cabinets. I’ve only met one person actually from Rhode Island, and I haven’t had the opportunity to interrogate her as to these language differences, I’ve just read them and heard from people who are not from here, but live here.

The other night I was in a car with people from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, etc., and I found out about this whole cabinet thing. No one was 100% sure, though, as to whether Rhode Islanders call cabinets milkshakes, or milkshakes cabinets. Do you order a strawberry cabinet? or put your dishes away in the milkshake? I cannot even begin to understand where this comes from since no milkshake ingredients are kept in cabinets, and it’s specific to Rhode Island. I haven’t been anywhere yet that serves cabinets, but I intend to. Also, I don’t know if I would be mocked for ordering a milkshake when I clearly mean cabinet.

In further New England news, I was in Massachusetts Saturday buying alcohol (no tax), and dropping off bottles ($.05 deposit). I’ve never dropped off bottles before and really had no idea what to do. I found an open door labeled “redemptions” and assumed that that was what I wanted. I went in, and saw what looked kind of like a tiny Laundromat covered with bright yellow signs that read “NO RHODE ISLAND CONTAINERS” There was a little old man in there, not redeeming anything, just standing there. I read the sign further trying to understand what the hell a Rhode Island container was, and if this was some other slang that I didn’t get, and he piped up, “no Rhode Island containers.”

“Yes, what does that mean?”

So he showed me that it had to have the MA $.05 deposit printed on the label in order to be redeemed. I loaded my bottles in the machine as he stood there and watched. I have no idea if he worked there, or if he’s a guy who hangs out hoping someone will just give him bottles, which must be a pretty easy (if boring) way to make a little money. Nice guy though.

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