I think Philadelphia is one of those cities that you either love or hate. I tend to fall into the latter category. I do not understand this place at all and I’ve lived here the better part of the past nine years. I will admit some stuff has grown on me, and now that I’ve lived on my own a little and had to actually interact with people; well I’m pretty sure I’d like to move ASAP and quit screwing around with it. Philadelphia has been a trial for me, but this is the city where I learned to stand up on my own and for that I’m gonna have to say that I love this place (still leaving though).
I was on the phone with a friend the other night and I hear someone yell, “Yo Adrian!” outside my window. My immediate thought was, “Well, my time here has reached its peak.” The only thing I missed was yelling “Yo Rocky” back, but I was too amused to think quickly enough to do it. So I’ve decided to compile a little list of the things I’ve picked up or learned since living here that I will take with me when I move on to friendlier pastures.
- Jawn – This is my favorite jawn I think though I haven’t managed to really work it into my vocabulary because I feel silly. Once I’m not around natives though, I will steal this little useful word and confuse the hell out of everyone I meet for the rest of my life. What does it mean you ask? Anything you want. For real. Thats the answer. Its everything. Its nothing. Its like “hooah” for the Army but much more versatile. Jawn.
- Wawa – It’s a store. Like 7-11 only not like 7-11 or any other convenience store anywhere (closest I’ve seen are Stewart’s Shops in NY). It could be the fresh dairy products that are delicious; I pretty much won’t purchase milk or Half-n-half anywhere else unless I have to and then I’m mad about it. Are you lost? Go to Wawa. Lots of helpful people at the Wawa. No matter what neighborhood you may find yourself in, if there is a Wawa you will be okay. They also host Hoagiefest and that brings me to my next jawn.
- Hoagies – In California we call them Subs. Some people may simply say sandwich. Sandwich does not do the hoagie justice. While some hoagie places are better than others, I have a few favorite spots and Wawa is the least expensive one. During “Welcome America” during the 4th of July Holiday – Wawa feeds anyone who shows up a hoagie for free. I thought that was a pretty awesome thing. It’s very Philadelphia. Very. Hoagiefest. If you expected cheese steaks to be on the list – they aren’t. I’ll lump them in with the hoagie concept of delicious sandwiches. Philly does sandwiches right.
- The Flyers – I love the Broad Street Bullies. I was into hockey for a bit in HS because I was hanging out with a couple of guys who lived and breathed it. I thought I had seen the insanity that is a die-hard hockey fan – until I moved here. Philadelphia LOVES their sports teams. They are the meanest fans in the nation (they threw batteries at Santa Clause for fucks sake). The Flyers fans though are everywhere, the Flyers are like the Green Bay Packers of hockey. They are a community team. They play for the fans and even when they suck at goals they win the fights. Flyers fans are at every hockey game in the NHL. No matter where I go in the world, I can watch hockey with my Flyers jawn proudly worn and never get my ass kicked by the locals for rooting against thier team because it’s the Philadelphia Flyers and people will understand.
- Wudder, Youse, “Yo Bud!” and “Tap MAC.” Except for “Yo Bud” which I seem to have adopted; wudder and youse make me crazy. Oh and Gazz. “Yo Bud! I’m stopping at Wawa to tap MAC, get some wudder and gazz…Youse guys need anything?” Water. ATM Machine. Gas. Jawn. It’s so much easier to just say jawn.
- Tastykake – It’s Hostess crap. It’s not though. It’s another thing you think looks the same as something else you’ve seen somewhere before, but tastykake is Philadelphia crap. The variety of crap is endless. Any crap your little stoned heart desires can be met in the Tastykake aisle at the Wawa. Yes, they have their own fucking aisle or island full of delicious crap.
- Roosevelt Boulevard – This is one of the easiest and yet most confusing roads ever built. Its 12 lanes wide in most places with six lanes going one way and six the other. But there are crossovers, and you can make left and right turns onto and off of it. Lots of people crash because they turn and end up going the wrong way. Things are not marked. There is no place I’ve seen where you are taught how to navigate this beast, and it seriously fucks with the GPS. If you are turning onto it… well hell, you just have to come here and figure it out for your damn self. Philly people will gently let you know when you fuck up. Just kidding. They will honk and curse at you while you panic.
- Yay America – There is some seriously cool shit here if you are an American history buff obviously. It’s where this whole America stuff started. After living here for almost a decade, I can say I’ve seen most of the biggies (Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin everything, the Constitution Center etc.). After living here and actually paying attention to the stuff I hated learning in school – Ben Franklin really is one of the coolest dudes that ever lived. The party the city throws for the 4th will either electrify you (or if you are a recluse like me) it will give you quite the panic attack. Its massive and a good majority of things in the city offer free days for the museums and such. Very cool, panic inducing fun with the best fireworks show I’ve ever seen.
- Alright dammit Cheesesteaks- They really are good. From almost anywhere. Theres the tourist places that you go to say you’ve been; Then there are the real ones where the people who live here eat. Philly people only take their ‘out of town’ friends to Pat’s or Geno’s, and if they love you they will take you somewhere else after you knock those two off your Travel Channel inspired bucket list. It’s all about the roll.
- Stephanie – She’s the one real friend I’ve made here. Shes born and raised here and has put up with my shit since I got off the plane an started calling Philly home. She makes sure I don’t die or get lost, and has taught me everything I ever needed to know about living here. You guys can’t share her, I just couldn’t think of another jawn and she really is my favorite person here. I think she’s secretly from California. 😉 She’s my BFF.
This concludes my list of things I like here. It looks pretty close to all the other lists that people write about Philly. Except for Stephanie, my best jawn, which I guess is my only really unique addition to the Philadelphia experience.