So you’ve taken the leap and made Philadelphia your new home. Welcome! We’re glad to have you. However, don’t think that your new driver’s license instantly makes you part of the culture. Maybe you’ll be one of us eventually, but you’re not there yet. Whether it’s an innocent question of what we’re up to on a Sunday in September or you naively believe that you will someday stop getting pinged by the Philadelphia Parking Authority, there are things you will do to cue us into your rookie Philadelphian status. Inevitably, we will spot you for the newbie that you are, and it’ll most likely happen through one of the following ways.
1. You mispronounce everything Philadelphian, but with confidence.
When you’re a tourist, you mispronounce Passyunk but it’s with a bit of hesitation. Usually, there is an accented last syllable so it comes off more like a question. The rookies, though, you’ll mispronounce it with pride because you’re sure — positive, even — that this time you nailed it. You are wrong, of course, and we immediately spot you for what you are.
2. You look around too much.
When you’re walking around as a resident of Philly your eyes belong in one of two places: looking at the ground or staring ahead. It’s those eyes to the sky or searching for a friendly face that clues us into the fact that you’re not from around here. Get your head out of the clouds and onto the pavement if you want to hang in these streets.
3. You ask what we’re doing on Sundays in the fall.
If you know, you know. If you don’t know, we’re not here to educate you. We will be either in front of a TV or tailgating in South Philly. There are no other Sunday activities this time of year.
4. You try to make plans in January.
If your plans include anything other than sitting indoors somewhere then we’re not interested. Thanks, but no thanks. This time of year we’re sitting inside, preferably alone. Except on January 1, of course, when we’ll be out gallivanting in the streets in our best costumes.
5. You refer to quizzo as trivia.
We don’t care what they called it where you’re from. Read the signs, they say, “Sign up for quizzo night.” No one said anything about trivia, and nobody’s going to.
6. You trust the time Google Maps says it takes to drive somewhere.
So you think you can simply plan out your day based on mileage? Big mistake, one that only a rookie would make. Philadelphians know that we are always subject to the whims of our own terrible driving and traffic patterns. Around here we know that the ETA is something best saved for the suburbs.
7. You still believe that you’ll stop getting parking tickets.
Ignorance is bliss, they say. In this case, though, acceptance is the only way forward. You will always pay parking tickets to the PPA. The sooner you let go of any kind of fair parking rules that actually make sense, the sooner you can get on with living your new Philadelphia life.
8. You don’t have a long list at the ready of where you’ve eaten recently.
As a newbie, you’ll have to learn to keep up with this weird, competitive thing we do here in Philly where we go back and forth about which restaurant or bar we’ve been to recently and why it’s better than the one the other person brought up. There’s no real explanation for why we do this, but we don’t need one. Just come prepared, do your research, and you’ll survive the restaurant throwdown.