6 May 2003
Greg Hlatky relates an only-in-New Jersey sort of event:
When we tried leaving our motel on Friday morning, we discovered we couldn't go out the way we came. Nor could we turn right. Another exit from the parking lot wouldn't let us go the direction we wanted. So we drove to the next traffic light. Where we couldn't make a U-turn. In order to go where we wanted, we had to drive into a shopping center parking lot, turning around and leaving through an intersection with a traffic light.
Migod, I think I've actually stayed at that inn.
I've had fairly kind words for the Garden State during the week or so I've actually been there. Then again, I live in Oklahoma, which sometimes seems to run neck and neck with New Jersey as Official National Laughingstock, and I suppose this could affect my judgment in some way. But even allowing for this factor, I don't think I could come up with something quite like this (Hlatky again):
The typical native of New Jersey (State Motto: "Ya Wanna @#$% Motto? I Got Yer @#$% Motto Right Here!") combines the loudmouthed boorishness of the New Yorker with the mediocrity of the Philadelphian. New Jersey is a state without history and without accomplishment, except perhaps for accumulating the greatest number of toxic waste sites in the country.
I live three miles from a former EPA Superfund site, so this impresses me perhaps less than it could.
Still, New Jersey was where I met Susanna Cornett, and New Jersey was the site of my first face-to-face meeting with the ineffable She Who Is Not To Be Named. ("Eff that," she said.) And no, neither one of them is actually from New Jersey, but what else can I do? Try to say something nice about Frank Lautenberg?