Ok, I actually got here Tuesday night, but I went almost straight to bed (after finding out the roomies bed squeaks- audible from the living room - and so does his girlfriend- making a trip to the bathroom almost entertaining), but immediately dove into unpacking, so I didn't really do anything or see anything outside the house til the weekend.
So now I feel like I've been here for a full week, and am just bursting with stuff to say, but don't know anyone well enough to blurt it to, so here I am!
1) Here they are sneakers. I've called them tennies my whole life. They take this labeling very seriously, as I was heartily corrected mid sentence for using the wrong, though admittedly accurate, vocabulary. Men also get the distinction of topsiders, which are deck shoes, which they were as their casual shoe, even if they are no where near a boat. I've called them, uh, boat shoes, but they seem to carry a special kind of sentimentality here, so I won't touch it.
2) Of course there is traffic. I knew there would be traffic. What I still can't get is WHY. They have a pretty smart way of making sure the cars get to go where they are going without stopping anyone else to make it happen. This is called a jug-handle. They LOVE when I talk about the jug-handle, though I've got nothing but praise for this concept. Sometimes it is before, sometimes after an intersection, but all turns are made from this side-road-access point to keep the thru drivers from waiting for a left hand turn signal or pedestrian in the crosswalk. The trouble is that the lights take just as long; you are not guaranteed a jug-handle so if you are in the right lane you may have to jet left to make a left hand turn or wait and U-turn back, and there is STILL TRAFFIC. Get this - it is a nightmare to widen streets because they would have to also move all the jug-handles!!!! Sometimes the jug-handles get bigger, like they go around a building or a whole block instead of just a corner of park-like nothingness, but this does not mean I'll be getting to work with any sanity any time soon.
3) The food. The white bread out here is just better. I did go for groceries last week, mostly deli stuff, but when the fridge had a foul stench I decided to clean that bastard out before putting any real food in there. This had me getting a familiar hello from the joint up the street that serves pizza, pasta, hot subs, and salads. Yep, I've been in a food coma for a week. This is a terrible way for me to be, as capped off yesterday by my trip to the CVS for tampons with an unplanned grab of the box of Oreo's and a quart of milk (then I ate half a row for lunch immediately upon entering the house). On my sugar buzz I went to the real grocery store, a taste of home because it is owned by a Cali counterpart, and realized when I unpacked that I tend toward really good food when given the choice. You just can't put a meatball sub next to it, cuz I'll eat that too.
4) They say they move faster, talk faster, think faster out here. On holiday weeks, they are slow as molasses just like us lazy west siders. These are all generalizations naturally, but they were so concerned I wouldn't be able to keep up... then took 2 hours deciding what take out to order from before actually going to lunch. Whoh!!! Hold up speed demons, I'm a laid back fruit or nut from Cali, I can't keep up with your frantic NYC-wannabe pace!! I keep reminding them I'm smart enough to follow direction and I have worked for the company before and this job compared to the last one is like monotony on a cracker, but they coddle me anyway. Whatev, I'll suck up the attention and like it.
5) It feels like I've been here forever already. I have to constantly remind myself it's been a, singular, mono, lone, week. Like when I dream of moving out into my own place, or buying a place, or selling a place for a bigger place, I have to look at the box of pictures still not hung in the corner and remember that I haven't even gotten a first paycheck yet. Maybe it's all the Jewish centers around here, got me planning my money before it's even here.
6) The space. There is open space everywhere. They have yards here. Even the strip malls are surrounded by open fields instead of other strip malls. I have to get into a BIG parking lot to see over the trees enough to catch the colors of the sunset. And all the trees were right in the middle of turning when I came in last week, so I'm catching the progress from vibrant to dead. No matter, it creates curbs made of maple leaves that somehow remind me of the Pine Tree Town I grew up in.
7) They don't understand when I say I'm not really used to the cold. What they consider a high for the day is what I'm used to getting as my 4am low. That it is clear out doesn't help me a bit except that I'm more likely to want to go out. Yesterday I spent 4 hours driving around the state - I was wearing mittens for the first 90 minutes of it. I'll be investing in lots of wool socks, and some new shoes to put them in, as well as sweaters that I can wear t-shirts under (the camis give me the shelf bra look, and I just can't have that), and while my cute little coats are, uh, cute, I do need at least one that has a removable fleece lining, preferably something that doesn't imply I'll be skiing any time soon. They tell me this isn't cold, and then clack their teeth on the way to their cars. Bite me, 34 degrees is cold, no matter what. Yes, it snowed on my car the other day, yes I have been rained on, yes I understand this is nothing compared to what February will put me though... I also understand that blood actually thickens up to make you more tolerant to the cold, and my triple layered body is working very hard to make that happen. I'm sure a walk around the massive block would help the circulation, and I see people running outdoors, but somehow I can't manage to get that into the 2 hours of the day it gets above 40 degrees.
8) Last one, I promise.
I want to grow up.
I want to have the balls to tell my roomie that he needs to get some shelves in his closets so this place isn't a clutter fest.
I want to tell the coworkers that giving directions is only useful until I can try them out - repeating them 4 times in a row only makes me want to get in the car, not makes me feel comfortable with taking all back roads through a town I've never heard of.
I want to say to Mr. Jersey that I'm not having sex with anyone until I'm comfortable admitting that I fake it 80% of the time because every guy likes ego strokes, not because I don't know how to get off.
I want to buy furniture. I want to buy things without picturing how easy they would be to pack and move.
I want to say I'm from somewhere in a brief sentence instead of a brief paragraph.
I really really want to buy a place, even a condo, and I think it is mostly about having roots somewhere. My roots though, because I picked that place to call home. Not because I could afford it, or because soandso said I would like it, or because it's close to someone. Are jug-handles and wool socks part of my definition of home?? Well, I'm inclined to think so, though not this part of Jersey, maybe just a smidge more north... but what do I know, I've been here for a week ;)