Picture this: I’m rolling down a city street somewhere in Philadelphia on a 90-degree, 89%-humidity day. Windows are down, I’m car dancing in my maxi dress and Tori Burch shades, possibly singing along to a little Lady Gaga, and eventually I realize that the quaint brick building have been slowly replaced with graffiti-ed concrete. All good, it’s a city, this happens. I stop singing.
Then I notice groups of men huddled in doorways and sitting on stoops, ladies cross the road with babies on their hips, not even checking for traffic. I roll up the windows and turn down the radio. I glance again at the printed out Google map and silently curse whatever evil algorithmic gods they’ve created that like to send Orange County-ified suburban chicks through the worst neighborhoods in the country. Good ‘ol G Maps had put me smack in the middle of West Philly, and the Fresh Prince was not shooting hoops anywhere in sight.
Fortunately, I was driving my grandmother’s 1997 Lincoln Town Car, which looks a little something like this:
And between that and the rolled-up windows (good tint, thanks Mom Mom), I was able to look more like a pimp than an incredibly out-of-place Californian on my way to the Jersey Shore. I still tried to make myself look a little crackheady just in case, but I navigated West Philly without a hitch.
And thus kicked off the last leg of my visit home: the land of my parents. Because my parents were born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I still have dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin’s babies, etc. scattered across the region. Plus a couple of kickass grandmothers that needed to be lunched with. So off I went, to the Jersey Shore (the classy part of it, not the caricature that MTV turned it into), to various parts of the city and suburbs of Philadelphia. Lunches were had, dinners were had, babies and grandmothers were kissed, and I nearly sweat my body weight in water thanks to a massive heat wave and nearly 100% humidity for the week I was there.
A quick 24 hour layover in Southern California, one last gluttonous In N Out Burger meal, and I my epic trip home ended nearly as soon as it began (or at least that’s how it felt, in reality it was nearly 3 weeks later).