A belly laugh like I just got from reading Elanamatic is worth sharing!
She said, "things had better clear up (weatherwise) before our trip OUT WEST."
ha...HA! Someone on robot finally said "out west" and I'm dyin' laughing here in Oregon, Out West, one of the last Western Frontiers, because I've suspected that people "back East" and "up North" do say this when referring to anything west of Kansas--and I don't even know where she is going, plus she might not consider Oregon "out west," but I do! This makes my day...it is just too funny..."out west" makes me think of:
Cowboys and Indians Buffalo John Wayne and Trigger Hi-Ho Silver Virtual Wagon Trains The Oregon Trail pioneers Spurs, boots, chaps and fiddles Gold & Silver rushes saloons and barroom brawls Rancheros Beans, bacon and biscuits cooked in an iron skillet over an open fire Prairies sod and plank shanty towns mine shafts ghost towns Bonanza...Lorne Green Log cabins dugout canoes shoot-em-up Westerns branding cattle girls in braids and gunny sacks ponderosa pines sagebrush Lanky cowboys in 10 gallon hats Circle the Wagons!
So, what do they picture the West as, when a member of another geographical territory says "out west?" I don't really know.
I use regional colloquialisms all the time, and recognize that it can work both ways; that, in fact, my perception of "out west" will be completely different than someone's perception of it who lives "down south." What do people "back East" think when they hear a westerner say they "are coming 'back East' for a visit?" Do you laugh your head off like I just did?
Or, what does a Southerner think when a Northerner says "I'm going down South?" Are you disgusted because they have no clue what the South is? Do they have the wrong states in the wrong regions?
There is a different visual attached to each of these places for the outsider than for the native. Outsiders, aka foreigners, may have really weird conceptions, not to mention erroneous ideas, of what goes on in the other "territories."
Here are my--I am very sure--weird ideas (but fun and funny ideas) about the East, South and North.
For instance, "back East" makes me think of the Statue of Liberty, immigrants, Plymouth Rock and Pilgrims, the Mayflower, Thanksgiving food with Native Americans, Ivy League, parades, Uncle Sam, the White House, colleges and universities built in brick and 100s of years old, bluebloods and aristocracy, harsh gales blowing off the Atlantic, shipping, Valley Forge and more historical places and monuments; the "real" America, where it all began. There are little towns with cottages and huge metros with millions of people crowded into little cars buzzing everywhere on freeways. And, especially, New York City. We westerners don't think we can actually go to New York and come back to face anyone here unless we have seen "Cats" on Broadway.
Maybe, even, you haven't really been anywhere unless you have been to NEEEEW YORK! CITY! (Don't tell the Texans that NYC is held in higher awe in the West than Texas; Texans are bigger than life, remember--I run into this all the time since my stepdad is a Texan. Texas is not a part of these other regions, it's TEXAS.)
If I think of "down South," it's where I dream life is somehow less stressful; people are easygoing and drawl their words, they socialize a lot; there are Southern Belles and Southern Gentlemen, with grand homes which always have pillars, and carriages and plantations or haciendas. Everything moves slower; the climate is humid and lush flowers grow everywhere. There are lots of night noises and moons shining. People hide and play out on the bayou, live on rivers, fish a lot, eat yummy gumbo and squash pie...laugh and have big families with lots of extended cousins. It's where Huckleberry Finn is from...the steamship, the riverboat life.
"Up North," is where it's really cold and snows a lot. People there are hardy types with ruddy complexions and lots of different pairs of boots...so my thinking and assuming goes...they ski, sled and snowshoe...sit around log fires in ski lodges and pop corn; eat lots of pancakes and maple syrup and wear plaid flannel clothing. They have featherdowns and eiderdowns. They bob for apples and crack nuts. They have those furry lined hats with flaps that come down over their ears. They get snow up to the house eaves, maybe even blizzards...they drive a lot of tractors and have big red barns with oak trees and orchards.
Whew. I didn't realize I had so many visuals going on. I have always had a dream that I would visit every state in America in my lifetime plus Canada and Mexico. I don't know if I ever will, having never been further East than Kansas, although I have lived in Texas and been to Montana, but it's a great dream. Meanwhile, I love Oregon and anybody can come visit here anytime, just don't say "Ora-gone," that's a no-no. It's "Ory-gun."