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New Jersey Sucks

Monday, March 14th, 2005 · No Comments

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It is not a day when you lounge around doing nothing. It’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”
– Margaret Thatcher

Friday night we hit the Wine Bar followed by the Tin & Lint. Saturday morning while bending over doing nothing terribly unusual my lower back began to hurt like hell. Heating pad, foam roller, stretching, Advil after Advil, and it still hurts today.

Saturday night we loaded up the dogs and all their gear and headed to Kinderhook. We watched bad movies (Underworld and You Got Served, which is only possible to watch in 15-minute chunks and makes the South Park You Got Served episode that much funnier). Karen and Joti came over briefly. Meanwhile in the basement, Happy, eternal escape artist, and Stella were barricaded. No barricade can hold Happy back. One of the dogs (my money’s on Stella) killed a mouse and left it for us on the dog bed.

Sunday morning we left the dogs to hunt garage mice and drove to NYC. We made excellent time (two hours and fifteen minutes from Kinderhook) and parked in a $13-per-day garage near the Javits Center just outside the Lincoln Tunnel. We walked several blocks to Penn Station to meet up with Katie and Elliott, who were in town from Oregon for the weekend.

We cabbed to Chinatown for some dim sum, then walked to the Village in search of Sunday happy hour cocktails. We stumbled upon a funny little place on Bleeker Street called the Back Fence. Little did we know the strange treat we were in for. It was open mic poetry afternoon and the recitals ranged from a heartbroken kid (“I found you fucking my friend / How’s it feel to be a fucking slut?”) to an elderly singing couple with a fondness for each other and memories of World War II.

We settled on a place called 1849 for a couple more drinks. With red plush couches and plasma TVs throughout, the place was also lined with “hip and ironic taxidermy,” as Jen so well described it. It was great fun getting to spend time with Katie and Elliott, and I love getting down to the city, if only for a day.

And oh yes, why is this post titled “New Jersey Sucks?” With apologies to Jonty (the state’s biggest advocate) and no offense to all our other friends who live in or hail from the state, I do declare that your state has the worst infrastructure, the worst road signs, and the worst drivers. Last time we drove to Hoboken, we got lost and ended up somewhere near the NJ Science Center due to part of the highway being closed (“Road Closed / All Vehicle Traffic Go This Way,” which was not the way we wanted to go). Of course, that sign didn’t stop the locals; a number of cars continued down the closed road.

Last night when we were heading home through the Garden State, we were on 17. Without warning or without signs, suddenly our lane peeled off and we were heading the wrong way. After finally finding a place to turn around, we thought we were back on track. We saw signs to 20/80 to the right, so we went right. Not until we had taken that exit ramp did we look to our left and see that in New Jersey, apparently, “go right” arrows really means “go left.” So we’re on this one-lane exit ramp and look ahead in disbelief as the car in front of us tries to pass the car in front of it.

As if that’s not bad enough, here’s the kicker: We round the exit ramp and are heading toward a toll plaza as several other lanes merge with us. What do we see in one of those lanes? Headlights. Yes, headlights. Coming right at us. Another car was going the wrong way on the highway and making no attempt to correct the situation. Luckily, I swerved in time to the left. I honked at the buffoon because I didn’t know what else to do.

So there you have it: New Jersey sucks.

Tags: weekends