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.
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.