Oh, is that what it’s called?! Exploring local lingo

Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
September 22nd, 2010

Everywhere you go, there is a unique local lingo. It’s inevitable. Something–a place, a street, a stereotype–acquires a nickname and it slowly evolves, through common use by the community, into a term that outsiders might not completely understand. We even had a special Kenning family lexicon growing up, most of it coming from my dad’s British upbringing. We often called sandwiches “sarnies”, for instance, and my dad always reminisced about faggots, which sometimes turned heads, causing us to explain to people unfamiliar with the word that a faggot–to a Brit–is a type of meatball made from liver. I even have my own lingo, but I can’t share any of it here because it simply is not family friendly.   As an older teen working in a small local business, I was exposed to a lot of interesting terms, but the one I remember the best is “budgie.” This referred to the young, sort of hippy-ish crowd that inundated Rossland in the winters during the early 90s, ostensibly to ski.    These budgies all seemed to have a VW van and a big dog, and they seemed to hole up in rental homes in large groups. They did not rise early. In the summer, they all went off to plant trees in order to earn enough money to come back and ski for the next winter. When I asked someone why the word “budgie” was used (budgie to me means a noisy little green or yellow bird that lives in a cage) I was told that this reflected their “flying in and flying out” in a predictable pattern coinciding with the seasons. The Sunshine Cafe even had a Budgie Burger back then: a nice breast of chicken with a special sauce, cheese, onions, and sauteed mushrooms. It was delicious. I kind of miss it.   We all know about The Hill, but when a stranger or guest comes to town and you start talking about The Hill, they kind of look around and you can tell they are thinking “here’s a hill, there’s a hill, everywhere a hill hill.” You then have to explain what specific hill you are referring to in order to clear things up.   When I moved back to Rossland a few years ago, I started hearing more terms that confused me, so I asked for definitions from my brother, who helped me with a few gems for the purpose of this column.   Let’s start off with the Salmo Dinner Jacket.. When I first heard this and found out what it was, I thought it was pretty funny, though I have no idea why it singles out Salmo.  Basically, this is local lingo for the plaid, often flannel, lumber jackets that button up the front. They come in a variety of colours. I guess this pokes fun at our local sartorial sophistication and our love of dressing up for all our fancy events. I have not been to Salmo recently so I cannot verify whether or not it’s still in vogue there, but it seems to me that camo outfits have taken over the Salmo Dinner Jacket in popularity around here.   Do you know what Kootenay Time is? It’s whenever you get around to it. Slightly more extreme than being fashionably late. It might involve the extension of deadlines or the bloating of time lines. Watches and clocks are disregarded, and stuff just gets done when it gets done, eh.   You might be familiar with the 10cm Rule, especially if you work in Rossland. This means that if it snows 10cm overnight or during the day, you can take the day off work to go and ski and your boss just has to suck it up. Unless you’re working for someone really uptight: then you might have the 20cm Rule. I don’t believe there is a 30cm Rule because that might mean a full-blown mutiny.   Finally, we have my favourite local lingo phrase of all, Loser Laps. When some teenagers get their driver’s licenses and have access to a vehicle, they might celebrate by driving the vehicle up and down busy streets repeatedly in order to show off their new status and celebrate their accomplishment. Sometimes people with extra pimped out trucks with loud and/or multiple mufflers do this, too.   After the torch relay in January, some guys in a big pickup with a Confederate flag attached to it kept doing Loser Laps up and down Columbia Avenue, pulling U-ies and revving the engine near the crowds. I saw and heard motorcyclists doing Loser Laps on Thompson Avenue when I was growing up. Good times!   That’s about it for me! If anyone has any more examples of local lingo they’d like to share, please leave a comment!  

Categories: Op/Ed

Other News Stories