Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Springtime for Jersey


I had this nightmare where I lived in New Jersey. No. Wait, that was real.

Another post out there reminded me of how the seasons in Jersey used to change. I lived in the northern part of the state so right now anyone who lives south of Trenton is chuckling and carrying on about how that serves me right.

Winters up there were cold and long and wet. The place was the color soggy fireplace ash. You'd get off the bus from New York at night, the door would close on your overcoat belt and the thing would be pulled out of its loops as the bus drove off leaving you with a last splash of gutterslush for the inside of your shoe. Hobble back to your apartment, turn on the fifteen minutes of heat you can afford after rent, food, gas, commuting costs and the mysterious sucking force New York used to exert on your wallet. This is the one where you take your billfold out for a fifty cent New York Post and suddenly you're down seven more bucks.

Spring came between 7:40 and 8:10 on May 9th and then you'd head right into your first heatwave. At 8:12 guys would be out on the sidewalk saying things like "it ain't the heat, its the impending humidity."

In summer things changed. The place was the color of soggy fireplace ash in an ninety five degree heatwave. We'd usually run to the mall for diversion and entertainment. You could pretend you were having your whole vacation there. Sharper Image was like a low rent Epcot and Banana Republic's changing room was as dangerous as certain South American countries. Trouble was the mall was where the rest of North Jersey went to so the crowds you had been squeezing through on Third Avenue all week were the same crowds you now crushed by on the way to Cinnabons. Only they weren't dressed as well and seemed a little more clueless. I guess that was to be expected. The smart ones got on a train to Connecticut Friday night.

Jersey really couldn't help being isolated from the natural world. It was 1952 before they began to realize they had paved the northern part of the state under the GI bill back in '48. Helpful pictures of flowers and grass were posted at train stations and highway billboards so children would have something to mentally refer to if they were talking to their cousins from South Carolina. You didn't want them picturing something with teeth when Jessie from Greenville mentioned the blossoming magnolia tree.

High school kids would try to go cow tipping but usually couldn't afford the twenty percent that being that close to New York demanded. And even then the service was mediocre at best.

It's spring here now. The evening air is warm and folks are out for walks. Flowers are blooming in front yards and will be until everyone who got to a calendar too late picks them for a hasty Mother's Day gift. Uh, I'd have gotten you a card but I'm saving a tree.

People are opening doors and windows and commenting how now they can finally get the ham and sauerkraut smell from New Year's Day out of the upholstery. The cat is assaulting the back screen door because she is imminently threatened by the bunny in the back yard eating my cilantro plants. Life is good.

Think I'll tear up a square of asphalt. Just to ensure we don't go too Jersey.

Bunny on.

1 Comments:

Blogger Oob said...

Thanks for stopping by! :) And my goodness, I laughed so hard reading this post. You are deadly accurate with the belt/bus/gutterslush in your shoe... along with everything else! My car was almost eaten by a pothole this morning too. :(

Great post. I'll definitely be back!

11:08 AM  

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