In May, I asked you guys to tell me what you think a shoobie is. Turns out it’s the same kind of term as “Central Jersey,” which a good friend calls a Bigfoot: often talked about, and never identified.
Everyone’s definition of the middle of the state depends on where in the state you are. Likewise, the definition of shoobie depends on your relationship with the shore, as the comments on that story showed.
But there’s a new term floating on the ocean breezes that I think will come into play more often: the shlocal (pronounced schlocal).
I first saw it earlier this summer in Exit Zero, Cape May’s weekly newspaper. It was used to describe a man who owned a home in Cape May and was involved in local politics, but was a full time resident of a town in Pennsylvania.
The first reference I can find online is a 2006 column from the Cape May County Herald. In 2010, it was added to Urban Dictionary. Here’s what they say: “A person with a shore, summer, or beach house near the South Jersey Coast, whose permanent residence is elsewhere – typically Southeastern PA, though not always. They think they are locals, but they only know how to get to the beach or Wawa from their ‘shore’ house, and know little else about the area. They also tend to put lOCal stickers, or the like, on their vehicles, which is quite comical for the locals when the car has PA tags.”
I agree with parts of this definition, though given by the snarky tone, I’m guessing it was not written by a shlocal. There are plenty of shlocals who know a lot about the area – some grew up there, but jobs took them to other places full time. Many would like to make the transition but, again, jobs keep them somewhere else.
Even if it looks clunky, I think it’s an apt term. People who live down the shore most of the summer, or on every weekend form Easter to Thanksgiving, aren’t shoobies, but aren’t locals either. It’ll be interesting to see if it catches on.