Let me preface this post by saying that I don’t actually have a problem with New Jersey, it’s just very easy to pick on NJ and it is also a NYC cherished pastime.
Having said all that, SCREW YOU NJ!
So, I have relatives and a bunch of friends who live in/are from NJ. Therefore, I have been to NJ and had a good time there quite a few times. Despite those good times, NJ still feels like a terrifying, impenetrable, foreign country where the natives speak in tongues and have incomprehensible transit systems. As a result, I never travel into NJ alone and my most recent trip was no exception.
My old roommate, The Photographer, and her boyfriend, Future House Husband, were going over to Asbury Park for a morning beach excursion followed up by a tattoo convention, and they invited Brazilian Helicopter Pilot and me to tag along. Brazilian Helicopter Pilot has six tattoos and wants to get more, and I wanted to get out on the beach one more time so we jumped at the opportunity. We set our alarms for the asscrack of dawn, zombied down to Starbucks – where we were mistaken for tourists – and then to Penn Station only looking a little bit more alive for the four shot latte I had downed. That was where the bad luck started to creep in: the usual train to Asbury Park was canceled.
Now, while this did not put a dent in our plans it was a portent of things to come.
The train ride was a little long, but nothing overly arduous. I spent most of it futzing around on my phone and trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep, which didn’t work because I cannot sleep on trains, buses, and planes. We had to switch trains, but soon enough we were at Asbury Park, strolling down the streets to the boardwalk at a leisurely pace. I was very aware of how sunny it was because the day prior I finally finished my 10 day antibiotic regime that kicked my 2 week sinus infection to the curb, but came with the warning to avoid direct sunlight – something I had made the mistake of not heeding in the past. We slathered ourselves up with sunscreen and found a spot on the beach. Now I do not own a good pair of sandals anymore so I wore my sneakers down to where we set up and then pried them off. I was a little concerned about the sun, but I wasn’t going to let it get in the way of me having a good time.
But Brazilian Helicopter Pilot cared a lot more about my physical health and told me that I should get an umbrella rental. I hemmed and hawed for a moment, but gave in. He asked me if I wanted him to go get it and I responded with, essentially, RAWR I AM INDEPENDENT WOMAN I GOT THIS! And the Photographer and I headed out across the beach to the dude renting umbrellas barefoot. The sand was hot, okay? The sand was REALLY HOT. We got to the umbrella dude and he took my money and followed us back to set up the umbrella for us. By the time I was parked under my umbrella on my towel, my feet hurt and I was extremely confused, but not really worried.
Brazilian Helicopter Pilot volunteered to be first shift watching our stuff on the beach while The Photographer, Future House Husband, and I all ran down to the ocean. My big toes were killing me and I knew something was wrong. I had a feeling I knew what was wrong, but I was hoping really hard that I was wrong. I told The Photographer to stop when we got to the water and I leaned on her as I rinsed my feet and looked. Of course, I was right. I had two massive blisters on my feet. One on each of my big toes. This did not deter me from getting in the ocean and floating around for a short bit, but I didn’t stay in long, my toes too tender to stand up on coarse sand. I scuttled back to the towel and umbrella much sooner than I wanted and huddled under it until it was time to go to the tattoo convention. Future House Husband made the most AMAZING cucumber sandwiches (and he sent me the recipe so I am beyond fucking psyched to make them again) and we happily nomed on chips and water.
The tattoo convention was a lot of fun and my feet held up a lot better after I got them back in my sneakers where they were dry, sand-free, and cushioned. The Photographer and Future House Husband moved a lot faster than Brazilian Helicopter Pilot and I so we ended up separating and meandering through the small, but talent packed, room. I picked up a lot of business cards and Brazilian Helicopter Pilot talked to one or two artists. But my favorite part of the tattoo convention was the last stage act that we saw, Sideshow by Old City Sideshow which was terrifying and entrancing. They were funny and despite a pretty dead crowd managed to make me laugh and cringe at the same time doing all sorts of crazy stunts.
The train ride home was spent in exhausted on and off again conversation as Future House Husband took a nap and The Photographer, Brazilian Helicopter Pilot, and I took a test to see how our levels of disgust about certain things placed us on a political scale. Delightfully Brazilian Helicopter Pilot and I were seen to be equally liberal.
The true test of strength came when I got home and realized the blisters had not popped and they needed to be drained. Poor Brazilian Helicopter Pilot handled it like a champ, sterilizing the area, inserting a lancet into the blisters and draining them not just that night, but also the next morning as well.
So, all in all:
NYC Suburb: 10