Everyone is Friendlier Than People from New Jersey


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Everyone is friendlier than people from New Jersey.

I am a born and bred South Jersey girl, and honestly, I never really believed the above statement was true until I was away this past weekend. I drove oh so far away, it took a whole hour and fifteen minutes to get there and I crossed an actual state line, but I may as well have been in another country. I walked (like Forrest) around this little PA town and everyone (and when I say “everyone,” I mean EVERYONE) greeted me as I passed by. Fellow walkers, people on bikes, working people – every variety and age of human being said, “Hello” and/or asked How I was.

At one point, after walking for about an hour and having everyone and their brother (literally) acknowledge me in some way,  I passed by a house where three adults were standing far back on the property in the middle of a discussion. As I came closer I thought to myself, they are totally gonna stop talking and say “hello” to me. And you know what? THEY DID.

People from New Jersey think they are friendly. We recognize that Southerners are certainly way higher up on the Friendliness scale than we are but other than that, I don’t think we actually believe the whole “New Jersey people aren’t friendly” thing.

We honestly believe that we are friendly.

I feel friendly. I talk to people in grocery lines. I smile at people walking by. I almost always at least say “Hi” if I pass a dog walker on the bike path. I even bring Welcome Gifts to new neighbors.

I  truly believed, until this past weekend that is, that I was friendly. Maybe not Southern friendly, but friendly.

Traveling to another state shot that idea to crap. I realized that, yes, I AM friendly, but in a NJ friendly kind of way which probably doesn’t translate to other areas of the world as “friendliness” but to us New Jerseyians, it totally does. We get it.

For instance, if I am walking down the street and someone is passing by on the other side, I will politely ignore them so as not to disturb them from their internal revelry. NOT acknowledging a passerby so as not to disturb them, translates as friendly to a NJ person. If however, I am passing on the same side of the street as another person, I might nod and smile, I may even go so far as to say, “Hi.” And that right there is like Girl Scout Badge Award Winning Super Duper friendly in New Jerseyland. We are friendly in our own minds.

At least I am.

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Just Like Forrest Gump

Quiet. It was so quiet that I kept hearing my stomach make noise. Gurgle. Pop. Does it always make that noise and I just don’t hear it?

Yesterday, I started my mini-journey to my mini-vacation – Alone. The first time I’ve been without kids (or anyone else) since 2008. That’s a long time.

By 3:30 I reached my home away from home for the next two days. No TV. No wifi. Just a quiet stream and a creaky house.

When I first arrived my impulse was to walk. Just walk. So like Forrest Gump before me, I walked. ( Yes, of course I know he ran, but he walked a little bit first. The sad truth is, the closest I come to running is walking.)

I couldn’t find any trails nearby so I just walked on the side of the road, and watched the cars and Amish buggies passing by. The scenery wasn’t much to write home about, it’s been a harsh winter, we haven’t quite recovered.

I walked until I could walk no more and then went home. I lay on the couch all night. Sometimes sleeping. Sometimes eating hummus and chips. Sometimes reading. Sometimes checking my social media. (What? That’s totally acceptable) 😉 This trip is all about going with the flow and seeing where it leads me.

So, I will drink my Earl Grey Tea (which I haven’t had since 1994 in Jerusalem and now I remember why. Ew.) Figure out how to load pictures from my iPhone to my iPad – this can’t be that hard right? Put on my yoga pants, and walk.


The Room: Creativity, Cobwebs & Crawlspaces

“Is she exercising or something?” 

Ah, the lovely view of parks in NJ.

Ah, the lovely views from parks in NJ.

I hear my daughter say as I walk one more time around the little league fields at the park.

While I walk I’m thinking about making bacon and eggs for dinner when we get home…

…Finally giving the bathroom a much needed deep cleaning…

…What we plan to wear tomorrow.

I pray for loved ones who are on my mind.

By the time my kids consent to leaving the playground so we can head on home for dinner, I’ve walked around the public fields five times.

The only room available in my mind for creativity is a crawl space off the attic. I must pass several rooms on three floors full of urgent things that need to be done before I reach that room, if you can call it that, it’s barely a room, the room where inspiration takes form.

On Saturday I wrote about Quiet and the hope of finding a couple days to get away to take a gaze inside my head.

What is hiding in that crawlspace?

It’s happening. Two weeks from today I will awake in a lovely restored 18th century stone house – alone.

No meals to make.

No dishes to wash.

No snacks to distribute.

No pickups and drop-offs.

No helping with homework.

No letters to type or phones to answer.

No laundry to fold or messes to clean up.

For 48 hours every other room in the home in my head will be empty ( I hope) and the path to the mental crawl space will be clear of distractions. I’ve never been so excited to go exploring.

I hope there is something other than cobwebs inside.

Have you done this? Have you gotten away to think and dream and explore what might be hidden away inside your mind, whispering and ready to come out? Was it fruitful?