New Hampshire Noob

A thorough (or is it thoro?) guide to what I’ve learned so far

illustration by brad fitzpatrick

A year ago this month, I packed up my things and moved from Indiana to the Granite State. Transplants may make up more than half of New Hampshire’s population, but we non-natives still face a steep learning curve about our adopted home. I’ve picked up a thing or two in my time here and, for the benefit of imports past, present and future, here they are: the 13 lessons you’ll learn in your first year as a New Hampshire noob.

1. Just because your state symbol disintegrated 14 years ago doesn’t mean it can’t still decorate your license plates and road signs.

2. It turns out it is not appropriate to suggest to your landlord that, in the interest of living free and all, your rent should really be $0.

3. You will brag to your friends back home that you practically live in ski country. This will not change the fact that you do not ski.

4. After dozens of confused people stop you when you reach the eighth digit, you will adopt, “No, sorry, those first three are the area code” as a permanent part of your non-603 cell phone number.

5. Before long, your defenses will fly up when people ask, “So where are you living now? Vermont?”

6. Seth Meyers and Sarah Silverman will become your new comedy icons. Adam Sandler will become that guy we don’t talk about.

7. Speed limit: 55 signs on I-93 exist only to give drivers something to laugh at (until some point north of Concord, where the 70 mph signs become the laughable ones).

8. Southern New Hampshire University is a real place! It exists outside of those ads that play on TV all the time in the Midwest!

9. The word “Winnipesaukee” will rattle you the first two or three times you hear it, then become normal. You will remain uncertain about “Uncanoonuc” probably forever.

10. “Center,” “Falls” and “Beach” are all acceptable suffixes to toss onto any place name for added effect. Similarly, you can end your town’s name with “-oro” or “-orough” however your whims decide.

11. Life here won’t make you a libertarian. It will, however, make you wonder, enraged, whoever decided that sales taxes were OK.

12.  When a candidate you don’t like is in town, New Hampshire’s political importance will be boring old news that you’re too cool to care about. When a candidate you do like is in town, New Hampshire’s political importance is the best thing ever and a sure-fire way to break your record for Instagram likes.

13. The question, “Can I wear flannel to this?” has only one answer: “Obviously.”

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