I couldn’t resist answering this Rhode Island question on Quora. I tried to resist, but failed…Stewie made me do it. Being a foreigner from Connecticut, a state I can no longer afford, I feel dual allegiance. I was born and bred in Bridgeport, also known as “Chapter 11 City.” That means it went bankrupt. Not that Rhode Island did any better. When I moved here, a banker named Molocone had just crippled the credit unions, leaving the good people in a lurch. At work, we asked for a raise–every other state got a 15% cost of living differential. We got a kind “STFU (translate: “Please be quiet.” You’re lucky you gotta job.”) Lucky I got a job? I just spent 80K on a college degree to be lucky? I could have gone to Vegas or Foxwoods for that.
So, here’s the Quora question that tempted me more than a trip to Scarborough Beach (eh, that’s not much temptation).
“How would you characterize Rhode Island and its inhabitants?”
Rhode Island is a unique place. Usually people say “Oh, you live in Rhode Island? That’s in New York, right?” Yes, it is a state. A unique state. You do hear about Rhode Island in the news, any time there’s a mafia arrest, or large-scale world disaster, like a fire out West, which will invariably be mentioned in terms of number of Rhode Islands affected. This is not a very good measure, since so few people know Rhode Island is a state that they won’t be able to determine the size of the fire anyway.
The inhabitants of Rhode Island are a cross between the Sopranos and Family Guy. Rhode Island is famous for two things, “mobstas and lobstas.” There is a Rosetta Stone available for the Rhode Island language–linguists estimate that the average Rhode Islander saves approximately five hours per week by not pronouncing the “r’s” at the end of their words, time they then spend frequenting Dunkin Donuts or Iggys (clamshack). Rhode Islanders drink ice coffee, Del’s Lemonade (a curiously frozen drink out of which the creators forgot to take the lemon rind).
Rhode Islanders have been branded the worst drivers in the nation, which allows them to be less formal on the road. Cars are less expensive, because they are not required to be equipped with blinkers. They use the sunroof and the center finger of the left hand to indicate the intention to turn.
All in all, though, “Rogue Island” is a unique place that’s been flipping off the system since Colonial times when it was the national meeting place for pirates and refused to sign the Constitution until the new Federal government threatened sanctions. It is the home of the first act of revolution of the Revolutionary War (the burning of the HMS Gaspee) and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It has many microclimates and terrains, making it a great place for filmmakers who don’t want to fight New York traffic or breathe LA smog, and the close proximity of the amenities it contains makes it a great place to live.
Want to eat some of the best food in the nation, get from the beach to the forest in ten minutes flat, and enjoy the history of Colonial New England? Come to Rhode Island. A few of us may even be friendly and try to drive between the lines.