How is it possible that a mere one-word utterance from a cash-lane toll booth operator can make me want to do the Snoopy dance? New England accents are like a strange note from a foreign instrument you want to hear again and again because it just doesn't seem possible. Is it like an Australian accent that vanishes in song? How does upper-sinus congestion affect its tone? How grand its power to penetrate a Bose-caliber noise canceling headset and eighty decibel jet engine noise!
My trusty New England tourist book neglected to mention that Cape Cod rolls up its sidewalks at eight. Trying to find dinner at 9 was no less a feat than erecting the Pilgrim Monument itself. The only flashing neon promised fatty bar fare and an Oktoberfest on draft. Heaven, right? So I bellied up to the dark Mahogany bar, planted a sweet smile on the blond behind the bar, and dropped the Y-bomb. Completely by accident, a casualty of being in the South too long. One might have thought I'd stood on the brass rail and shouted "Yankee's Rule!" for all the stares that ensued. A grizzly guy at the last stool gave me directions to a Chinese restaurant that stayed open until ten. Thank you, sir. You might as well have been speaking Cantonese for all I picked up in that seductive Yankee accent, but it was big of you to aid a woman in digestion distress. I might have pulled up the stool next to you and had beer for dinner had you not scared me so.
Dinner that night was hot fudge sundae at an adorable ice cream stop down the road. That's really how life should be lived, right? Dessert first.
My next kick-ass heroine will hail from New England. With gritty chops and no-nonsense delivery, she could bring the worthiest foe to his knees. As for the language of seduction? My heroes are always the strong, silent type, anyway.
Tomorrow: Romancing the Inns, or How Bedbug Inspection Kills the Mood