Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Jersey and Me, Imperfect Together

February 18, 2009 is a day that I will never forget. I was unemployed, carefree and had the luxury of sleeping-in as late as I pleased. But that day, I woke up extra early for 5am workout and an hour of primping then spent 45 minutes picking out the perfect casual-chic winter outfit. Eventually, I strutted out the door headed to a place that nobody wants to go. The DMV. But on February 18, I could hardly wait to be yelled at to “get in line!” or “fill out this form!” by an underpaid government worker.

The line of Guatemalans wrapping halfway around Herald Square could hardly dampen the excitement I felt. I had my iPod-induced swagger on as I took my place in line and whipped out a book prominently displaying a NY Public Library sticker, because yes, I am a New Yorker this was the day I’d be trading in my New Jersey Drivers License to make it official.

Perhaps I should’ve been more excited about the fact that it was the day I would officially become “Mrs. T” by changing my last name. But no. Instead I was thrilled because my ugly, maroon, laminated New Jersey license was being “traded up” for a shiny NY State Drivers license bearing the Manhattan address I’ve occupied for the last 5 years.

Only now, on a day not-too-far away, some unlucky DMV employee will have the displeasure of wrestling me, as I scream “but these are Prada shoes!” to the ground. Then she will have to pry from my cold, clenched fists the New York Drivers License that I so proudly whip out whenever I’m asked for ID, all because my husband T and I are purchasing our piece of the American Dream: A Condo in Montclair.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled and excited and all that and I’ve already begun ordering too much of the Crate and Barrel Winter catalog, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am still the snot-nosed, over-dressed, but under-clothed, guess-where-I-got-in, city-dwelling beeyotch I’ve always wanted to be. I take extraordinary pleasure in answering the question, “Where do you live?” when I’m out of town and in some sick way I actually enjoy the fact that I pay the same amount to rent 700 square feet that many people in the burbs pay to own 3000. Because (in my most superior voice) “you pay for the location, not the space.”

Now, as I prepare to head west across the river, I’m struggling with the fact that I will no longer be anyone’s “city friend” and that people will probably stop calling me for restaurant recommendations. I dread my first night out in Manhattan, probably in the Meatpacking District, when some bitch-faced Murray Hill skank gives me that you’re-so-bridge-and-tunnel look as I whip out my NJ Drivers License.

I invented that look!

So in a few weeks from now, if you see me driving home from COSTCO wearing a hot-pink Juicy sweat suit and sporting acrylic nails, give me a honk. I’m ready for the car, the home and even the commute, but you can bet your sweet ass that I will be delaying my trip to the DMV as long as possible. Not because it’s unpleasant, but because I’m just not ready to give up the persona that has taken me 5 years, numerous trips to Saks (fine – H&M) and an AmEx bill as thick as a phone book to craft.

The only saving grace is that, in New Jersey, they let you look at your ID photo and retake it until you’re happy. So to anyone behind me in line that day – I’m sorry, but I’m now a Jersey Girl and I’m going to re-apply lip gloss, brush on the bronzer and adjust my push-up bra until my Drivers License photo is Just Friggin Right. So back up!