Home Sweet Northeast for the Holiday
My trip home for Thanksgiving is barely a trip. Many people have a longer commute to work, and plenty would travel farther for pizza. But because I’m from the Northeast — where moving to another parish or, God forbid, a different Wawa precinct, is taboo — a 35-minute drive counts as something of a homecoming.
And — I-95 construction be damned — it feels good to go home.
If you’re not familiar with the Neast, Wednesday night wouldn’t be a bad time to introduce yourself. Although observed elsewhere to varying degrees, Thanksgiving Eve is considered a Northeast High Holy Day, where for one night the entire country seems to validate what we natives like to do year-round: Get drunk with the people we grew up with, talk about high school, and recover the next day with dinner at mom’s house.
It’s an important ritual, and one I look forward to more and more each year. This might be because I spend my nine-to-fives at the Navy Yard these days, a suspended reality somewhere between Wonderland and Oz on the Rabbit Hole Scale, where rompers pass as “business casual” and kale chips are a food group. Or because I live in Queen Village, home of the $1,375,000 rowhouse (to state the very obvious, I rent). It might also have something to do with the cocktail I ordered last week, which required a master’s degree to make and a carefully curated sense of self-delusion to drink.
Thankfully, the bougie Kool-Aid hasn’t yet infiltrated the Neast, which is still very firmly Miller Lite and Dunkin’ Donuts territory.
Want to dig into the appetizer before it’s Instagram-ready? Can’t deal with pretending like it’s totally normal to spend $45 on a four-mile ride in a celebrated taxi? Need someone to call you out on your insufferable shit before the New Year? You’ve come to the right place, friend.
For there is no room for pretense or pretension on Thanksgiving Eve at Ground Zero.
“Body shaming” does not exist in the Northeast — you will be told that you got fat, you will order more crab fries, and you will move on with your life.
Nobody will believe that you are “fulfilled by” and “passionate about” your career if you’re driving a ’98 Corolla. This is a safe space, so drop the act and just admit that, yes, mistakes were made and all you really want out of life on this godforsaken rock is a back deck and premium cable.
Think it’s healthy to be a 30-year-old woman who drops her shih tzu off at doggie daycare? Lady, it is not, and this will be made abundantly clear before Thanksgiving Eve is over on Frankford Avenue.
Of course, like any relationship during the holidays, one with the Northeast will require some gentle compromises and flat-out concessions.
Some of these are easy: If I can wear sweatpants to the bar on Wednesday night, I will happily accept the fact that I will not meet anyone at said bar. And then some give a little more pause: At what point are there too many guns in a place serving Jell-O shots in Dixie cups?
Whatever you do, don’t answer that last one if you plan on stopping by Wednesday night. Because Mayfair will be happy to show you a good time — but putting your opinions about gun control and flavored vodka on the back burner is part of the deal.
Follow @IProposeToast on Twitter.