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I Hate New Jersey, and New Jersey Hates Me - The Cover Story
October 2013
Mon, Feb. 13th, 2006 09:01 pm
I Hate New Jersey, and New Jersey Hates Me

Like a ski resort full of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking for girls, the situation is not as symmetric as it first appears. Leaving Boston was the least of my troubles this morning. My 0630 flight was cancelled, but I was right there in Seat 6A on the next Continental 757 to pull out heading for EWK. It was the approach that things started getting interesting.

So as we approached Newark, the Captain came on the PA. This isn't altogether uncommon, sometimes they make the requisite "Thank you for flying our airline. We know you have many choices of carriers to travel with and we appreciate, etc, etc" announcement. What caught my attention were the first six words out of his mouth.

"I don't mean to alarm anybody..."

Well, damn. That's right up there on the list of things you don't want to here your pilot say. I think its just above "What the hell was that?" and just below "Isn't the airport supposed to have a runway?". Fortunately, a few moments later he continued.

"...but we're the first plane to land on this particular runway since the storm..."

Oh goody.

"...and, er, I'd just like to remind all of you to check and make your seatbelts are particularly well-fastened for this landing."

I'm pretty sure they train you not to say things like this in flight school. I know in engineering, if you want to be a well-respected and lofty officer, you never let on that anything is wrong, you just quietly fix it. Especially when you're directly responsible for the lives of the people you're talking to.

So in we come. I'm glued to my window, looking down, when the runway finally comes into view. Awesome. Its covered in snow still. Not so awesome.

We hover for several seconds over the tarmac before the wheels touch down. I feel the plane bounch. And then again. Now, normally at this point, you feel the wheel brakes kick on and then, the engines backthrust to slow down the plane. Well, I felt the wheel brakes start to engage, and then get overridden by Sir Issac Newton. And then the plane started to yaw.

Now, even from almost over the wing, I could feel the plane starting to slide. Apparently, our intrepid crew felt it to, because all of the sudden, the engines kicked on in reverse harder than I'd ever heard them do so before. The whole airframe started vibrating violently, but slowed down. After a few seconds, the aircraft realigned with the runway, and we pulled off to the taxiway.


So after I set down, I whisked away to the monorail (easily the coolest part of EWK), and got my rental car (another silver PT Cruiser). I had a simple set of directions to my client site: 95 to 18 to 1 to Finnegan Lane to Lincoln Highway to Georgetown/Franklin Highway to 601 to the client.

Oh. Is that all?

I made it as far as Finnegan Lane 2 hours later (the traffic on US-1 was quite impressive -- I took 45 minutes to go 1 mile). Then, Finnegan Lane promptly stopped, having never touched anything labelled "Lincoln Highway", or any variation of that theme. So I turned south. Princeton was south. It made sense.

When I hit I-95 again, now only 4 miles north of Trenton, I figured I was lost. Apparently, New Jersey has a series of CR-### highways that only appear on some maps, and which ones appear on any particular map are decided by the mapmaker rolling 3D6 against a target of 16 for any particular highway. So my office told me to drive North.

Now, after wandering around for 40 minutes or so on the backroad of New Jersey, I found CR-601. Fantastic! I thought, I'll follow it up to the site. This 601, however, turned out to be an imposter. Without warning, the cowardly road deposited me on US-179, out near the Pennsylvania border. At this point, even natives from the client site where clueless as to my exact location, and when I finally found a place to safely pull over in the town of Ringoes, NJ, I was far outside the experience of anybody I was in contact with. Head East, they told me. Seek out the road call US-206. Then contact us again.

Now, all I had for navigation at this point was the map of New Jersey that came with my car rental agreement. This map clearly told me that the intersection of 202 and 206 was in Raritan, and if I hit Bridgewater, I'd gone too far. What it failed to mention, and what fills me with rage at the State of New Jersey, is that there are at least 2 municipal entities called Raritan, and 3 called Bridgewater. The Boro, the Township, and the City of Bridgewater were prominently featured on my voyage up 202, almost causing me to revert my course several times. Fortunately, I saw through the signage's clever tricks, and made it back to Princeton, after four hours on an extended tour of backwoods New Jersey, and almost half of my fuel.

At least the hotel has free internet.

Oh, and for TMBG fans, the original Why Does The Sun Shine Song, as it appeared on a 1955 educational record.

Tags: , ,
Current Music: Singing Science Records - Why Does The Sun Shine


Kate Nineteen
Tue, Feb. 14th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)


E. Go
Tue, Feb. 14th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)

Back in Princeton, eh?

Robert Bronzite
Tue, Feb. 14th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)

Yeah. Same town, different pharma. I don't know how long I'll be here, but if you want to do dinner tomorrow night, let me know.

ReplyThread Parent
E. Go
Tue, Feb. 14th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)

Working for the enemy, eh...

I can't do dinner Wednesday night. If you're still around Thursday, though...

ReplyThread Parent
Tue, Feb. 14th, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)

New Jersey hates everyone. I can't view the sun link :-(

E. Go
Tue, Feb. 14th, 2006 07:34 am (UTC)

The MP3s are also linked from here.

ReplyThread Parent
Tue, Feb. 14th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)

OOOH! These are Great! Thanks!

ReplyThread Parent