Sunday, April 19, 2009

Navigating the State of Michigan

I suppose each locality has eccentricities that cause strangers to smile. Michigan is no exception--the people here talk with their hands!

It's like this: When you ask where a "Michigander" lives, instantly he raises his right hand, the palm aimed at his face. Then with his left index finger he points to the area on his right hand where he "lives." And that to a citizen of the state, is tantamount to a roadmap to that man's front door! It's a language all its own! I call it "Michibabbel!"

The reason: the land mass of the main part of the state resembles a mittened hand, with the "thumb" jutting into Lake Huron. I had never noticed that before. Everyone here knows it though, and they all use it. You see a group across a crowded room talking, and when one of them raises his flattened hand in the air, you know exactly what he is explaining.

And then when they describe the entire state which includes the "upper peninsula," they first hold up the "mitten," then they hold up the left hand, palm forward and horizontal, and they almost touch the fingertips of both hands together, and that represents the entire land mass of Michigan.

Which brings up another curiosity. It is in the area where the fingertips "touch" that in real life is called the "Mackinac Straits." At one time ferryboats moved traffic across those straits, but now it is joined by a five-mile-long bridge, called the "Mackinac Bridge." And while the bridge is no curiosity, the condition it creates is--the people in the "U.P." (Upper Peninsula) refer to those living on the Mainland as "Trolls." The reason: "because they live under the bridge!"


amydaisyrose said...

I remember using the hand to explain where we lived!

mimihalley said...

Hehehe. I am guilty of having done "the hand." :)