The get-together for next Friday is still on, despite the difficulties many of you faced last time in getting here. Unfortunately, Google Maps and the major commercial GPS systems have yet to put the new development in their databases, so please pay close attention to the new directions. Of course, once you get to the development, ours is the seventeenth house on the left — the one with the garden gnome that looks like Lyndon B. Johnson sucking on a kumquat.
From Philadelphia: Take Interstate 95 north across the Scudder Falls Bridge to Trenton. Take Route 31 north, turning right at the Quick-Chek two miles north of the Pennington Circle. Follow the signs to the Charles Lindbergh Jr. National Historical Site in Hopewell. (Note that the signs are in the familiar National Park Service brown, but utilize a more readable sans-serif font.) When you arrive at the Lindbergh house, walk around to the back, and climb the makeshift ladder up to the second floor, taking care to watch out for splinters. In the bedroom, you should find a light blue cashmere blanket, with a detailed map embroidered in the center. (The map is not to scale; I didn’t have enough red thread to make Cherry Valley Road as long as it by rights ought to be.)
From Atlantic City: Take the Garden State Parkway north to Interstate 195, then take Route 9 north to Freehold for seven miles. Turn right on Route 33 to Freehold Raceway. Walk to the paddock and ask for Stubby, who will guide you to the stables. (If Stubby offers to shake your hand, please do so; he’s very sensitive about his physical limitations.) If you decide to purchase racing silks, I would strongly advise that you get them one size larger than you think you’ll need, especially if it rains. As always, take extreme caution in crossing the New Jersey Turnpike, as harness racers do not have the right of way.
From New York: Take the subway or taxi to Madison Square Garden. Stand out front of the Garden and yell, at the top of your lungs, “STEPHON MARBURY IS A CRYBABY LOSER.” (This isn’t strictly necessary, but it will make you feel better, and you’ll be surprised how many other people start doing it, too.) Go to the bottom level of Penn Station and buy an NJ Transit ticket on the Northeast Corridor line. Take care not to make eye contact with any leprechauns that might be aboard. Depart the train at Princeton Junction. Send up one green flare from the flare gun you will find attached underneath the third bench from the right. Make sure, however, before you fire the flare gun that there are no hot-air balloons overhead. We don’t want a repeat of what happened last time.
From Allentown: Take Interstate 78 east to the junction with Interstate 287. Take I-287 south to Route 202-206 south. Take Route 206 when it splits off at the Somerville Circle. About a mile after the circle, there should be a Stop-N-Shop on your right. Go inside and get two six-packs of Heineken, a pack of Hebrew National reduced-fat hot dogs, and a large bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. You will find additional directions printed on the back of your receipt, unless you’ve made the mistake of getting Nacho Cheese Doritos. If the receipt paper gets jammed in the register, ask Jeff in frozen foods, because he’s the only one who knows how to fix it.
From the IKEA in Elizabeth: Pick up a large container of Swedish meatballs, some lingonberry juice, and an Ingolf chair (black, no armrests). Take the Turnpike south to the Route 1 exit, keeping an eye out for harness racers. Follow Route 1 south until you hit the Delaware and Raritan Canal, where you’re looking for Skippy’s Kayak Rental. Do not sign any documents Skippy hands you, especially those related to kayak damage waivers or white-water travel insurance.
From Los Angeles: Take Interstate 5 north to Granada Hills, taking the Balboa Boulevard exit and heading west. Take the third right until you find the warehouse complex that reads “U.S. Department of Energy, Restricted Access Only.” Tell the guard, “I heard there was a fire at Topanga Canyon, but the radio says it’s under control.” When he waves you through the checkpoint, drive to Building F and wait for the automatic door to open. Once it does, you’ll see a good-sized discontinuity in the fabric of space-time. Accelerate to thirty miles an hour and drive straight through the discontinuity, which should transport you to the Princeton high-energy physics lab on Route 206. However, if you find yourself in an unfamiliar location — such as downtown Camden, the north end zone of Giants Stadium, or the Old West — honk your horn three times and wait for assistance.
From Dublin: Take the Airlink bus from Dun Laoghaire to the Dublin airport. Order a caramel macchiato at the Starbucks, making sure to ask for extra nutmeg. Your Aer Lingus boarding pass should be folded inside your napkin. On arrival, take the AirTrain from JFK, connecting to the LIRR, which should drop you off in Penn Station. Take the NJ Transit train to Princeton Junction. Do not make eye contact with other passengers. We don’t want a repeat of what happened last time.