I borrowed the title This is intended to be humor don't take it literally I didnt
| Life here in the Garden State isn’t all Tony Soprano and hot and cold running PCB’s, we have one or two remaining nice places to visit, and several fun ways to entertain oneself. There was even an actual garden here at one time, but they needed to build a Quik-Chek next to the 7-11, so it’s gone. But there’s a really nice plaque they put up to mark the spot where it once stood.
I can also verify that there are quite a few nice, charming, considerate, and intelligent people here in New Jersey. I even know one or two personally. But when driving in the Garden State, there is no such thing as “nice”, or “considerate”. Those are concepts that do not exist on the highways and byways where I live. I share the road with the most vicious, cold blooded, diabolical, and cutthroat drivers in the country, if not the world. The overall intelligence of my fellow motorists appears to be quite low, their level of concern for the safety of others even less, and their compassion nonexistent. I equate the experience of daily New Jersey driving as being akin to repeatedly hitting yourself in the head with a large wooden mallet while people with poor eyesight throw knives at targets set inches from your genitals. I have been flipped off by a guy reading the paper, eating a bagel, and talking on the phone while driving at 80 M.P.H. I have been tailgated while doing over ninety by a teenage girl applying eye liner and switching CD’s simultaneously. My car has been struck by a flying work boot appearing out of nowhere, and had fishy water from a seafood truck sprayed all over it. I have received a traffic ticket, and gotten stuck in gravel. This week. And, it’s only Tuesday.
Obtaining a New Jersey driver’s license is simple enough. Just fill out a form, take a written test with lots of relevant questions about right-of-way at nine- way intersections, and proper hand signals in semaphore code, and you can begin practicing your driving skills. Two or three days later, you’re ready for your test, which consists of navigating a quarter mile road course, and parking between a few cones. Then smile for the camera! You are just about ready to merge onto some of the most harrowing, poorly maintained, and least scenic roads you’ll find anywhere.
Get that documentation in order, citizen! You must have a valid registration card, which is a license issued by the state permitting them to charge you a fee each year for another, almost identical card. Insurance is mandatory here, buster, get pulled over without that card, and kiss that license goodbye. If you’re a new driver, the insurance companies will be falling all over themselves to get away from you as fast as possible, you’re high risk, you see. If no one wants to take the chance, the state will designate one for you, which guarantees a fair deal, eh? But it’s good to know, if you ever, God forbid, need their help, they will be right behind their loyal customer, in 6-8 weeks, after you fax everything in triplicate. Then, you’ll get their lowest possible settlement, after which they will cancel your policy, because you’re high risk now (read: making them part with money). So, make sure no one crashes into you, OK?
There are over five hundred separate municipal entities in New Jersey, two thirds of them quaint little jerkwater burghs, complete with little used and under funded police departments, desperate for any sources of revenue. Enter speed traps! Fall into one of those, and you get trapped three times. The town gets your fine, the state issues you a bill for a “surcharge”, which goes into a fund to pay for insurance for people who don’t have any (really), and you pay this bill for three years (yes). Then last, but not least, the bloodsucking leeches in the employ of insurance companies, in cahoots with municipal and state authorities, devised a sinister and evil “points” system, which basically further penalizes drivers with punishing rate increases, which persist for years and years. So slow down, enjoy the ride!
Uh, yeah, right. Speed limits are looked at with contempt by everyone under age eighty in New Jersey, unless a cop is clearly visible. You will know a police car is in sight when everyone ahead of you begins slamming on their brakes in unison. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a death race, where anything goes, and being first in line means everything. “Road rage” in New Jersey is when someone actually begins shooting. Just think of it as being like a big amusement park thrill ride, with a “Road Warrior” theme, populated by caffeine and alcohol fueled maniacs. Keep up, move over, or die, is the credo here.
Oh, and bring a good book or your laptop, because you’ll definitely have some downtime whilst sitting in one of our ponderous traffic snarls. Staring at the rear end of a dump truck can get somewhat tedious after an hour. Check the local traffic reports on your trusty AM radio, to see what alternate traffic you may be able to wait in, or what obscene gesture is “in vogue” that day. Use that time productively, write your memoirs, or an opera. Have a drink or two, the cops only set those DWI checkpoints up late at night, besides, you’ll be completely sober by the time you start moving again. “Better Late Than Never” is the new Garden State motto, replacing, “Move, Asshole!” That has become more of an all purpose social greeting now, much as “Aloha” is used in Hawaii.
If you, dear reader, ever find yourself passing through our fair-to-poor state via motor vehicle, give me a beep and a wave. I will be the one cursing at you while passing an ambulance, you can’t miss me. Meet me at one of our lovely, spotless, and nearly pervert-free highway rest areas, and we’ll chat. Bring the whole family. Happy motoring, now move, asshole!