Somewhere between Boston and Northvale, something changes. I think it's when I'm crossing the Tappan-Zee Bridge and heading into Rockland County that something in my head reverts and I become some I used to be. It's not just my accent that code shifts, but the way I think changes.
I went to the Palisades mall on Saturday to finish off last minute Christmas shopping. Considering I worked there during Christmas 2 years ago, you'd think I'd know better. I parked down in the Home Depot lot (and it was just like when I worked at B&N) and I started walking up the hill to get to mall proper. And I think, "Man, this is far. I can't believe I used to walk this all the time!" and then I thought, "I can't believe I just thought that, this isn't far at all." I walk farther than that all the time in Boston--I walk at least that far just to get to the T stop. But something flips a switch in my brain and all of a sudden 200 feet is far.
I went out with old friends while I was home, too, and the same thing happened. I'm not that person anymore, but I was when I was with them. How can change be so impermanent? When I read old journal entries, I don't recognize that person anymore. So how can I become that person so easily?
I'm back in Boston, now, so my Jersey accent is mellowing again. You are probably all lucky you didn't hear it while I was home.