I was giving blood on Saturday morning, and the phlebotomist and I were conversing about the various forms of Red Cross donation options available. I have only donated whole blood. But the Red Cross wants my plasma more than my whole blood, so they keep suggesting that I donate plasma. While blood donation is a worthwhile and fascinating topic, I will cut it short to tell you that the phlebotomist at one point asked me the relevant question â€œDo you live on this side?â€
It made sense that she might ask if I live â€œaround here.â€ My mind raced. What was the elided antecedent? This side of what? Had we talked about the highway? Had we mentioned the river? The train tracks? Distracted for a moment, and still unsuccessful, I knew I could avoid the question if I turned it around and gave her the location of my house. So I did that.
Ultimately failing at identifying any antecedent, I guessed it might be an unfamiliar slang expression. Google. I found something by Mobb Deep (sometimes joined by 50 Cent), in the song â€œCreepâ€. Havoc busts:
â€œâ€¦Its crazy on this side, come thru, gun thru
Oh ya man live out here, don't go and get comfortable
Don't know what he told you ain't sweet around here â€¦ .â€
Mr. Havoc is referring to his neighborhood, so perhaps â€œon this sideâ€ is a shortening of â€œon this side of town.â€ Anyway â€œaround hereâ€ does seem to work as a paraphrase.
I was born and raised in a city, but I guess I've been suburban for too long now to be on top of the urban slang. That and I need to catch more of Mr. Havoc, Mr. Prodigy and Mr. Cent.
While I don't know where the phlebotomist lives, I am willing to assert she is a twenty-something African-American woman.
Like many suburbs ours is a short drive to an urban center, complete with areas of high unemployment, high crime, drugs, gangs, and occasional shootings. Her follow-up to my response was that the another Red Cross center, where she also works, has better equipment for plasma donation. The other center is diametrically opposite the urban area I was describing above. None of this is conclusive, but I think that urban influence is not far-fetched.
I have checked with a few of my colleagues, and the use is not familiar. So I could be totally off the mark here. I'll keep checking.
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