Me: Can you repeat that? (Silence.)
Me: Oh no! SP, can you hear me?
SP: *laughs* It cut out for a second, ‘kay? Yeah, I can hear you guys now.
Me: Can you repeat what the phrase was?
SP: “Six of one, half a dozen of the other.” Which just basically means same difference.
Me: What would you use that for in like— like saying that for?
SP: I often contradict myself, all the time, with my thinking. And I’m a bit of an over thinker—and so I think, sometimes, that phrase can get me out of my rabbit hole when I’m like— I don’t know, thinking too deeply about something…
Me: Got it. And where did you learn this phrase from?
SP: Where did I learn that? I… (She thinks.) Learned it… *whispers* Fuck! I don’t know.
Me: That’s okay!
SP: It was a very common phrase back when my grandparents were young.
Me: Okay, uhm, who would you hear say this? Did your grandparents ever say it to you?
SP: Yeah, my grandfather did… My grandfather on my mom’s side when I was young… like six. And visit them, in the summers.
Me: And do you know why? Like, in what context he would say it?
SP: Usually… when we’re fighting about something. Or like the family is bickering. And it’s like…
Me: Ah, got it. Got it.
SP: “Same difference.” You know?
Me: “Same difference.”
Performed over a FaceTime call. One of my roommates friends, a high school senior. She is in her bedroom in Alameda, California.
This was especially interesting to me because I know the components of what is being said, but I didn’t understand them without the context given by the informant. According to her, this is more popular amongst older generations in America. I thought of it as a practical saying, but hearing how her grandfather used it to settle disputes and pacify family arguments really made it special. I can see why she uses it now in her personal life as a way of anchoring herself to reality and practicing mindfulness, and I’m glad she was able to find an emotional attachment to this piece of family folklore.