“I’m not going to become a pizza snob.”
Yeah, yeah. You’ve been living in other states, and you’ve tried other pizza. You’ve had Chicago deep dish, you’ve dipped Pennsylvania pies in ranch dressing, and you’ve had vegan flatbreads in Portland. I’m sure they were all great. But the problem with living in a place that makes the best is that it ruins your palette for everything that’s not the best. Bagels that aren’t made in Jersey or New York are going to be ruined for you, too.
Don’t sweat it too much. Philly residents are going to be snobs about cheesesteaks made elsewhere. Kansans are going to be snobs about barbecue. This is just your burden to bear.
“Sure, I know how to make left hand turns.”
The jughandle is an inexplicable quirk of Jersey road planning, and you’re going to have to get used to it. You’ve got to learn to stay in the right hand lane, or get used to a life of U-turns. And you’re going to have to accept the fact that a lot more of your life is going to be spent at red lights.
“I’ll never pay to go to the beach.”
Suck it up. It’s pretty cheap, the beaches are gorgeous, and the money helps towns that are still recovering from Sandy. If you’ve got a problem paying, just sit back and get drunk on the boardwalk.
“I’m not gonna get defensive when people shit on New Jersey.”
Before I left D.C. for Jersey, a friend of mine said, “It’s just a state of suburbs. It’s the suburban sprawl of Philly and New York with an Ivy League school thrown in the middle. It’s a commuter state.” My friends back in my hometown, Cincinnati, all invariably said, “Ugh, why?” when I told them I was moving to Asbury Park.
I could give them plenty of answers about the appeal of living on the Shore, on the plusses of living in a state with a pretty solid public transportation system, or on the joy of always being a stone’s throw away from a delicious sandwich, but my stock answer quickly became, “Bruce Springsteen, motherfucker.”
“I should be able to limit my pork roll intake.”
Accept it: you are fat now. You can’t do anything about this. Taylor Ham is just too goddamn delicious to not eat every time it’s presented to you. Sure, it’s got enough sodium in a single slice to give hypertension to a hippo, and sure, it’s technically less healthy than bacon, but on the other hand, you can put it on everything. Pork roll sliders? Yes, please. Pork roll nachos? Sweet Jesus, yes. Pork roll plain with some eggs and toast? Let’s do this.
“I refuse to mispronounce mozzarella.”
You’re not a character from The Sopranos. You aren’t interested in saying “gabagool” instead of capicola. You don’t want to sound like Luca Brasi when you’re asking for cheese, either. But after a while, it gets tiring asking for “mozz-a-rella,” and getting sad, knowing looks from the butcher that say, “Aww, you’re not from around here, are you?”
At some point, you’re going to have to assimilate. At some point, you’re going to walk into the deli, and say, “Extra moozadell, please.” Only then will you be a New Jerseyan.