Saturday, June 02, 2007

Stuck In The Swamps of Jersey

Teaneck, New Jersey---

There's nothing like a visit to hazy, humid New Jersey to make one appreciate New Mexico. The local story about a woman pricked by a stray needle while walking on the Jersey shore doesn't hurt, either.

Still, there is a novelty to being in Tony Soprano Land that goes beyond the mere fact one sweats like a bastard just walking around outside. Almost everything about this place makes it the "anti-Burque", to the extent one wonders how it can be said to inhabit the same country. My first few times visiting the area (and I distinguish these visits from trips to NYC in previous years as Jersey is nothing like Manhattan), I really got into the whole otherness of the place, but this quick jaunt just leaves me ready to get back in ABQ. And I've only been here about 20 hours at this point.

And I can't blame homesickness. I have a fairly lengthy list of places to go this summer, and I'm still very excited about them (Guatemala, etc.). It's just Jersey that has we wanting to go back to Burque pronto. I can see now why so many NY/NJ folks idealize the Southwest. I can kinda understand why people join the Mafia here...there's not too much else to do beside sweat and step on needles at the beach. Murdering and being murdered would almost beat driving down the NJ Turnpike, for instance.

Or maybe I'm looking at Jersey the wrong way. Let me go wander sweatily through it a bit longer and see if something new appears. Like a floating body or something.


Anonymous said...

At least while you're there, get some of the greatest pizza around!
My condolences on the mold growing up your legs.

Kelsey Atherton said...

I've grandparents in New Jersey, and I spent five summers at a camp in south jersey. I've a fondness for the state (that wears thin after about a month). Recently, I was puzzling to myself "Do I like the US?" and answered "Well, I like New Jersey and Albuquerque, so I guess I pretty much have to."

and get birch beer. Birch Beer and Jersey pizza are a culinary masterpiece in much the same way that a frontier breakfast burrito is - it fits the place so perfectly.