the dirty Jerz, temporarily reconsidered

No one is more surprised than me to be typing these words, but this little web page has always been about honesty, often at the cost of my pride. So here’s the confession: life in New Jersey is kind of lovely.

We’re here for a solid ten days, on a little layover between Philly and New York. It’s a stint I wasn’t so much looking forward to, especially after Bridget pointed out that shacking up with Dave’s family kind of made me a resident of the Garden State, if for less than a fortnight, and would I be updating my Facebook location to reflect said change?

No, Bridget, I will not.

Also, I’d appreciate it if you could keep that information to yourself. Because while I might have renegged on that whole anti-Cornell thing, a girl has got to have some standards. Standards like: I can’t support a place whose signature hair style involves not only embracing my natural Jewish fro but amping it up on crack. Or: I can’t get behind a state where roadways incorporate something called jug-handles and mostly smell bad. Or: I’ve spent four years breaking Dave of his natural inclination toward hair gel and TGI Friday’s, and he still uses an Axe body product in a scent called “Music,” can our relationship really stomach 10 days in his homeland?

In short: some things must be sacred.

But, apparently, not. I mean, in theory, I still have nothing but disdain for this state. But in practice, when said practice involves lounging poolside and snacking on chicken taquitos? I just can’t physically hate it.

The chicken taquitos are just the tip of the iceberg really, as there’s all sorts of disgusting/wonderful food that I normally would be too embarrassed/self-respecting to purchase myself, but because of a confluence of circumstances (Dave’s parents’ Costco addiction, the fact that a 14-year old boy lives here), it’s all around, all the time: strawberry ho-hos and huge sacks of M&Ms and jumbo mozzarella sticks. There’s also an extremely private, extremely in-ground pool, where I can flaunt my ill-fitting bikini (looked so cute in the J. Crew catalogue…) with pride. When it gets too warm, I can dismount from my position on the lounge chair next to the table holding my paper plate of taquitos and take a quick dip or escape into the central air conditioning. There’s a bathroom the size of our former living room, big enough for cartwheels, or even showers, which is convenient because the water pressure enables use to actually clean ourselves, should we so choose. There’s a car we can use to take us places, like stores that sell things we need for our (shoebox, insanely expensive, semi-gross, omg-can’t-even-bear-to-think-about-it-anymore) NYC apartment, and we don’t even have to carry it all home. And, once the quick but satisfying buzz of those taquitos wears off, there’s dinners of real food, delicious and hearty and, most importantly, cooked by someone else.

I’m joking of course – not about the taquitos, I would never joke about shit like that – but about the fact that the most important part of the meals is that they’re cooked by someone else. That part is a nice perk, don’t get me wrong, but really, the most important part is the people gathered around the table.

David’s brothers and sister all happen to be overlapping here for the next few days, and the house just feels so full, so warm and comfortable. It’s buzzing with jokes and homework help and footsteps coming down the stairs – a background noise I’m so happy to soak in, especially after a winter of sitting with Franny in my little office, waiting for Dave to come home from another interview at another hospital in another state. Here, in New Jersey, it feels like summer and sibling comradery and lots of things I’ve really, really missed.

It feels like home, for the next 10 days at least.

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