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I’m writing this at home, so don’t know the correct temperature. It’s sunny and pleasant; I’d place it at between 21 and 23C. Perfect summer weather; not too hot, not muggy, just perfect. Today is also Hillary’s birthday (YAY!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY!) and my choice for the lottery on when Fruity will become a baby, and we can all finally find out what his or her name will be. It’s been so aggravating! WHY WON’T THEY TELL US!?

Anyway, Monday, Bastille Day, we headed back to Warwick, Rhode Island and the New England Institute of Technology to apply for some financial aid (my loan denied because, apparently, of an unpaid power bill from when we lived in Monterey, gotta clear that up). We got an overview of their housing requirements and Andrew had his placement testing which I was not expecting to take three hours, but it did.

The school staff suggested I could wait out the time in the school library, but that was closed, so I headed out in search of a place with BOOKS. I finally found a nice public library in the neighboring town of Cranston, looked through the stacks and found their lone Lloyd Biggle Jr book, The Darkening Universe, about a mysterious force that is moving from planet to planet, killing every intelligent creature on those planets in seconds. Only resourceful operative Jan Darzek, one of only two humans allowed to take part in the galactic civilization, has any chance of discovering what this “unidentified death force” is before it kills everything on every planet (and thousands have already died).

I won’t spoil the ending, because, well, I didn’t finish the book and don’t remember it from when I read it before. I used to have such good memory for books, but now, after only a decade or two, some books fade away. I recently re-read Alfred Coppell’s “Glory”, and was shocked and dismayed that I didn’t remember it at all, though I did anticipate some plot points, but that’s probably becaused they were pretty obvious.

Where was I… oh yeah, Cranston. Anyway, I amuse myself by leaving Andrew text messages suggesting he has been in the testing long enough, and eventually decide bugging him remotely isn’t as much fun as bugging him in person, so I put the book back and head back to Warwick. I get gas along the way, as gas is 40 cents/gallon cheaper in RI than CT. Ka-CHING.

A-ha, THERE’S that “The Window Shoppee” store from the last time we were here. It is just so fundamentally WRONG. You can find other stores that call themselves “Shoppee” — my favorite was “The Coffee Shoppee”, which is kinda funny, and a pun, and I thoroughly approve. Warwick is a place with stores advertising LEGAL SEA FOOD and NINJA SUPPLIES, pictures I did not get because I was driving in tricky traffic.

Ya know, you can hardly consider Warwick, Rhode Island, a hotbed of Ninja activity, but you’d be wrong. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they can’t see YOU.

Anyway. So I was wondering how people ever thought “shoppe” ever gave them any sort of atavistic cred. Is this a throwback from Colonial days? Luckily, there are a bunch of Colonial-era newspapers on the web, and the odd thing is, most stores were named after their proprietors and were called “So-and-so’s Store”. The advertisements read, “Mr. Phineas will have on offer in his store on Bridge Street fine glassware & other asstd sundries from Europe Monday, having just received shipment from the ship Barksdale, recently returned safely from Spain.” Ya know, they never called things “The Glassware Shoppe”. And nobody back then seemed to spell “shop” with any extra letters at all.

Well, how about going back in time a little more — back to the Elizabethan era, where spelling was an opportunity to be creative? I went to Shakespeare’s First Folio, a collection of his works put together by his friends soon after he died, and was one of the first collections (though not THE first) of the most recent versions of is plays in their original spellings. With ‘u’s for all the ‘v’s and ‘f’ for all the internal ‘s’s, so “Love’s Labours Lost” would be written as “Loue’s Labours Loft”. If there was any possible place I’d find “shoppe”, it would be here. And in fact, I did find a “shoppe”, one occurence, in “The Taming of the Shrew”. Petruchio is complaining about the clothes a hapless tailor makes for him.

In all the other occurences, the word was spelled “shop”. If that spelling was uncommon even in England four hundred years ago, then using “Shoppe” to make your place seem more pleasing to tourists is a fraud, and “Shoppee” is just — did you ASK anyone before having all those signs made?

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