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In Maine, if you weren’t born here, you are not from here. Period. No exceptions. And if you aren’t from here, you are “from away.” Which is about the worst thing you can say about anyone. “Oh, her? She’s from away!!!” And them’s fightin’ words! Luckily, if you are from away, you don’t know that them’s fightin’ words. And you can go blithely about your business completely unaware that you are cursed with this terrible affliction.

While being “from away” can work in your favor to excuse a whole bunch of faux pas and other mistakes you might make in trying to survive the environment and carve a niche for yourself in this incredible place, you need to know, up front, that you will never, ever, “fit in.”

I first learned of this “from away” phenomenon the summer I moved here, at a funky homemade ice-cream shop on a quaint cobbled street in town. I had ordered some orgasmic concoction that was one of the house specialties, and after eyeing the unending selection of toppings, asked for sprinkles. At which point the lady who had just been served ahead of me turned away from eating her cone, drew herself up, looked all the way down her nose at me (again with the nose!) and said “You’re from away!” with some indignance*. As it turns out, in Maine, “sprinkles” are called “jimmies” and THAT’S what had given me away. Not my New York accent. Not the lack of LL Bean labels on my city clothes, or the fact that I was carrying an umbrella (because in Maine, umbrellas are for sissies and California. In Maine when it rains, you need GEAR).


Outed by sprinkles!!

*In case you think I am completely off my rocker (and you may not be too far from the truth), I am fully aware that “indignance” is not a so-called “real” word. But I defy you to argue credibly that it doesn’t fit here. Plus, this blog is my own little fiefdom and “indignance” is a word in Onlyinmaineland if I say it is. Don’t say that you weren’t warned!


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January 2009
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