Like any Jewish child born in the post-WWII era, I have an uncle named Arthur who is a doctor. Besides being a great guy and good uncle, he’s also handy to have around just in case anyone needs late night medical advice, a last minute flu shot or an update on how the
In certain ways, I feel the same way about taking a trip to
Not that I had too, too much time to think about all that since being in Philadelphia meant I was ON VACATION and could do things that I rarely do back home, like hosting an all night party in my hotel room or letting someone else figure out how we were getting to New Jersey or, even, including a piece of melted cheese on my trademark tuna fish sandwich. For the first time in a short wile, I also drove down and stayed with an entirely new group of friends, each of whom I picked up outside my usual college/high school/Relix comfort box (in fact, I even met one at an indie-rock show). But while on vacation the rules of space and time are suspended in that summer camp kind of way and, by 4 hours in, we knew each other well enough to harp on each other’s insecure quirks.
Usually, when I leave town, even when it is only to Philadelphia, or say, New York’s Upper East Side, I try to taste a bit of local culture, be it a restaurant, museum or local landmark, in order to try to convince my parents that I’m not one of those lot kidz for whom seeing Phish in 72 cities really meant little man than seeing 72 Best Westerns and Waffle Houses. But, with a new group of friends comes new rules and regulations, and this time I used our hotel as a Lost in Translation-like springboard for all my adventures, rarely leaving, mingling with my fellow guests and interacting with the local hotel staff as if they were speaking another language (which in many ways they were since, apparently, you can only order sushi at 2 AM in New York and L.A.).
You also learn a lot about new friends by staying with them in a hotel room and, even If they are just plutonic pals, I kind of feel like your relationship changes in a small way after you’ve seen them in their pajama. It’s kind of like jumping from casually dating someone to sleeping with them or, more accurately, going from having a playdate to a sleepover party. Slowly, you begin to figure out which of your friends gets all deep when the lights go out, which one of your friends builds a little pillow fort around herself and which one of your friends gets up way too early in the morning and feels compelled to wake everyone else up “by accident,” like a dog licking his master’s face in the morning.
All in all, it was great fun and I even discovered that they make Philly Cheesesteaks without the bread for people on Atkins. Now that’s progress people…