After spending the better part of my
37 27 years in New Jersey, not far from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, I moved to Bend, Oregon last June. I was pretty sure I’d completed my Oregon transformation by the time I embarked on my first backpacking trip in September.
Then I had to buy a Subaru.
One of the most fascinating things about moving across the country has been observing the utter lack of jadedness among my new neighbors. And how, in a town of over 100,000, EVERYONE KNOWS EACH OTHER. I find myself constantly sending the New Jersey crew texts like, “I don’t remember what a car horn sounds like,” and, “Someone just BOUGHT MY GROCERIES,” and, “[Sara] and I just realized we went out with the same guy.”
In fact, this happens so regularly that I’m about to fill an entire blog post with examples FROM THE PAST WEEK ALONE.
(Shout out to Rainbow Cloudjumper, who came up with this priceless new hashtag. )
#NEVERINNEWJERSEY EXHIBIT A
While in line at Starbucks (you can take the girl outta Jersey, but you can’t take the crippling addiction to overpriced lattes outta the girl), this happened:
WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME (holding out giant reusable cup): Hi, is there any chance I can get some water in this? I can pay you.
BARISTA: Of course! I’m so sorry you had to wait in line just for water. We never charge for that.
WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME: I insist. I really, really appreciate it.
BARISTA (handing her the now-filled cup): It’s no problem at all!
WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME: Can I at least tip you?
BARISTA: We don’t accept tips, but that’s so nice of you.
WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME (waving a $20 bill): Please, I want to.
BARISTA (taking bill): Uh, well, okay, thank you so much.
ME (silently): How the f@&*% do I follow that?
#NEVERINNEWJERSEY EXHIBIT B
#NEVERINNEWJERSEY EXHIBIT C
I had two girlfriends over for dinner the other night. Within five minutes, this:
GIRLFRIEND #1: Where do you live?
GIRLFRIEND #2: I live in [blah blah] neighborhood.
GIRLFRIEND #1: Oh! One of my really good friends lives there! She said there’s lots of neighborhood drama. Do you know the crazy lady who won’t let anyone park in front of her house?
GIRLFRIEND #2: I *am* the crazy lady.
#NEVERINNEWJERSEY EXHIBIT D
Every month, friends host a vegan potluck at the Environmental Center. It’s basically a #NeverInNJ free-for-all. This month:
(MY FRIEND) STEFANIE (to a new woman we’d never met): Hi, I’m Stefanie.
NEW WOMAN: Hi, I’m [New Woman]. Isn’t Bend amazing? Someone just gave me four snow tires for free! Hey, want to go snowshoeing tomorrow?
ME: You can borrow my Sno-Park pass!
Honestly, I could keep going, but my alarm just went off. That must mean it’s time to go compliment someone.