Saturday, 20 July 2013

Piker boy

The New Jersey Turnpike plays a large part in my life, although I live in London. This is because the alternative is Route 1 (rout not root). After dropping off the family at Newark airport I very nearly found my way onto the turnpike but as usual missed the crucial sign telling you to swerve across four lanes of traffic towards Elizabeth. The swerve is not the problem, the problem is to remember that Elizabeth has anything to do with any other destination, intended or not. So I was stuck on Route 1 the whole way. And I had to trust to God that it was indeed Route 1 that I was stuck on, there wasn't a sign to be seen. Getting lost in that part of Jersey is no fun, the Sopranos was a documentary.

Route 1 is like any major highway, fast heavy traffic all the time. But with lights. You're in a herd, barreling towards these lights at 80, wondering if you can stop if they change. And JESUS CHRIST THAT WAS A LEVEL CROSSING. No lights there, what happens when a train comes? No doubt about it, the turnpike is worth its $6.50.

It has other attractions too. The Newark runway is right next to it, so you can be tooling along at high speed only to be overtaken by a 747 coming in to land. And is the smell that of the refinery at Linden or is it that smoking heap of machinery? Which is either my friend Bruce's clunker or a Dreamliner having an emotional crisis. My money's on the Dreamliner, Bruce's clunker has more self-respect.

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