When I first came to live in Boston, it was to attend BC in 1997. Almost immediately, I was struck by how many redheads there were. Honestly, now it sounds ridiculous, but I could only think of maybe 1 or 2 people from my high school that had naturally red hair. I had also never met people my age who went to church without being dragged along by their parents, and was surprised how many students attended the special Sunday night freshman campus mass. Eventually the newness of being surrounded by church-going redheads wore off, and I found something else to admire from afar: the Boston accent.
My history TA freshman year had an Irish surname, a thick head of red hair and an even thicker accent. I forget the context in which he said it, but on the first day of class he mentioned something about Karl Marx and it was music to my ears. "I am in Boston, and I love it," I remember thinking.
Five years later, I started working the 10-6 shift at a company in Norwood. There was a friendly German security guard who introduced himself as Ott. "Have a nice night, Ott," I'd say when I left for the evening. I'm not sure how long I had been there, before someone pointed out to me that Ott was neither short for Otto nor of German heritage. Art was short for Arthur, a retired Boston policeman and thankfully, very good-natured about the misunderstanding.
Now, after living and working in Boston since originally coming here for college, I like to think that the novelty of hearing the accent has worn off. For the most part it has; however, sometimes I hear someone (like I did this morning) that takes me back to freshmen history class and Kahl Mahx.