Why You Never Go to New Jersey

Last week I crossed over the Hudson - or under, rather - in order to go to New Jersey. It was just H1 and I, in a small, sporty red vehicle, wind in our hair and smiles on our faces as we escaped the city for a brief while.

Yeah, it was for work. If you think that was obvious, because you know, why else would we choose to go to New Jersey, keep in mind that last time we had a holiday and a car, we went straight to Ohio. We laugh in the face of traditional holiday destinations. And, this was a Friday, so it wasn't a holiday at all. No, we were working - or H1 was, at least. I was just along for the ride.

I had work of my own to do, so the plan was that H1 would drop me off in town to write, go to his meeting, pick me up again and then take me home - but not without a stop at Ikea on the way. When you don't own a car, merely having possession of one for a day makes a trip to that monolithic store virtually mandatory. H1 has just moved into a new office, and needed some stuff, but we would have stopped anyway. There's never a good reason not to go to Ikea*.

Well, there's one or two. Including the very good reason of being desperately, unimaginably sick. The previous weekend had been a write off as H1 struggled with what was (in my eyes) just a cold, but was really (to him) some sort of ridiculous, unnecessary torture. Because he never gets sick, he finds it more distressing than most other people do, so I had had a few days of sympathetically mopping his brow and pouring him juice while he asked me question after question like, "Why does my head hurt this much?" and "Why am I so cold?" and "What if I NEVER get better?" in a sad, small, imploring tone. I had been very good to him during this time, reassuring him gently and making him rest and doing my best not to laugh at his silly questions, but I guess that wasn't enough for whatever deity controls these things, and it wasn't long before I was struck down by the same cold - or should I say, evil mystery virus that did its level best to kill me. Yes, that's right, H1 was completely right, and this was so much worse than the common cold.

So there were a few days where I worked all throughout the day before staggering in at night and falling onto the bed in a foetal position, still wearing my hat and coat, fully expecting that I may never wake up again. Probably that in itself should have made me think that I should use a day off to rest and do nothing else, but my mind doesn't work that way. So when a nearly fully recovered H1 announced his plan to drive to New Jersey, I piped up with my intention to come before he had even finished speaking.

At first it was all good and fun, picking up our little car and driving for freedom, particularly after we were out of Manhattan and on the New Jersey turnpike**, the sun beaming down on us, but I soon realised what a poor idea it really was. H1 dropped me off as planned - admittedly, in a shopping mall, not a town, because there is no such thing as downtown in suburban America any more - but nevertheless, there was a coffee shop which shall remain nameless, complete with comfy seats and mediocre hot drinks, where I could write. I ordered a drink, and sat down, and pretty promptly realised that a nasty side effect of this cold was that my brain had decided to go AWOL. Seriously, it's a wonder I could even form words into the right order to request my drink. It was distressing.

I managed to do a little work, and was very proud of myself for even that small effort (when I read it back later I realised it was half a page of rambling, with the same tone that you would expect to read in a 'rescue me' note that turned up in a bottle. Had I been stranded on a desert island, rather than just delirious from my immune system trying desperately to escape my disease-ridden body, I could not have been expected to be saved any time soon. It was not good writing. It wasn't even intelligible.) However, the rest of the day went to plan - H1 remembered to pick me up again on the way back through, we went to Ikea, grabbed what he needed quickly, then made our triumphant return to New York and the maybe apartment, so I could go upstairs and fall asleep in my coat.
Moral of the Story: It is either give yourself time to heal, OR it is a longwinded apology for the general neglect of this blog, OR it is never go to New Jersey. You choose***.
*Wow, I think I should be looking into some new sponsorship...

**I have only ever been happy to be on the New Jersey Turnpike, which apparently makes me a total anomaly (and obviously not a real New Yorker)
***Hint in the title!