Saturday Jersey Funhouse


No, your calendar isn’t defective: today is Saturday but here you are at the Funhouse.  I hope you weren’t all waiting in line yesterday in eager anticipation of a trip through the Funhouse on its regularly scheduled day because I assure you, this little stop gap measure will not have been worth the wait.  Unless, of course, you found some guy selling Whip-its in the parking lot in which case, no matter what I type here today, it will have been totally worth the wait.

Look at that cluster fuck of highway signs up there.  Upon leaving Newark Airport, one immediately comes face to face with this virtual Tower of Babel of conflicting signage.  This is where the Parkway and the Turnpike part ways as each of New Jersey’s toll roads announces that it will soon lead you to no less than 5 of the next most major thoroughfares in the state.   If you branch off to the left, you will be on the Turnpike (referred to as I-95 in every other state on the eastern seaboard — free traveling from Florida to Maine except for the stretch that runs through NJ and charges astronomical tolls); veer to the right and you’ll be on the Parkway.  As you can see, if you want to access Routes 1 and 9, you can choose either highway.  The Parkway side gets a little more specific and tells you that the stretch of 1 and 9 accessed from the GSP will lead you to Route 22.  It does not, however, advise whether the exit for 1 and 9 will take you in a southbound or northbound direction even though the fact that it’s 1 and 9 to Route 22 implies that you will only be able to get on the highway in one direction or the other.  Now, those familiar with the area will of course understand that the left branch of the fork is northbound (although it claims to be eastbound) because it announces the Holland Tunnel which is one of the several ways to enter New York City from Jersey.  The sign on the far right must be something the highway planners put there just to fuck with people.  It points you to Route 21 towards Newark Airport — as you’re leaving Newark Airport (“Look, Kids!  Big Ben!  Parliament!”).  Since you can’t travel more than 50 feet in New Jersey before coming to a toll plaza, this might just be a way of making hapless travelers circumnavigate the airport a few times to maximize how many times they’ll find themselves at the same toll booth paying once again for the privilege of circling the very airport they’re trying to leave.   Again, “NJ Turnpike” and “I-95” are one and the same, so having both logos on one sign is unnecessarily confusing.

So we have 5 rapidly approaching exits — three to the right and two to the left, but as you’ll surmise from the multiple warnings that this is the “Last Exit Before Toll”, a toll plaza is coming up just around that bend in the highway.  The plaza, of course, is shared at this one location by both the Parkway and the Turnpike.  What this means is that one of the most congested traffic areas in the country suddenly comes to a 5-way crossroads, with approximately 6 lanes of travel converging at once, causing an utter free-for-all.  The closer you get to the toll, the less marked become the lanes so that everyone spilling out from 2 major roads and the airport is simply attempting to shove themselves violently into the closest area to the exit they need to access.  There is no foolproof art to this.  When I lived here, I many times found myself with no choice but to get on a highway that goes in the opposite direction of my destination only to get off at the first accessible exit, pay another toll (of course) and make a U-turn to get back on course.  Oh yeah, and everyone who lives in this part of New Jersey is angry.  Very angry.  Therefore, while one is attempting to navigate this mess, he or she is serenaded by blaring horns and a crescendo of obscenities through open windows.

This is just fucking insane, and I’m convinced it’s intentionally so.  No ethical road planner would ever concoct such a shit storm of vehicular confusion. Honestly, the only reason I can even joke about this now is because holy fuck, am I glad I don’t live in this god-forsaken shit hole anymore!!  Since I am now more like a tourist than a native to this state, I can happily take it all in like some sociological anomaly having no effect on me whatsoever.  Kind of like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona; or an episode of The View.

Here’s some Jersey-style humor for the holidays from the brilliant Linda Belcher John Roberts:




18 thoughts on “Saturday Jersey Funhouse

  1. Glad to see Ya OK and “HAPPY” to be “HOME AGAIN”, OK OK Jessie is fine and as Cozy as can be! Have an AWESOME VAKAY-Martin! PS-I will Gladly NEVER Go There even though I’ve NEVER been there!:):):):)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Actually, Paul, if you stay on athe dedicated I-95 from Wilmington, Delaware it takes you to Philly, where by way of some ridiculously haphazard switches and two lane bypasses it circles due East back to Trenton where it then re-connects to the NJ TNPK. It’s ridiculous. And engineered through some twisted politics a la Gov. Christie’s Bridgegate, no doubt. All of this aside, the funniest incompetency I’ve found, though not nearly as complex as what you’ve shown here, was a highway circle near Norwich Connecticut that had signs reading: US-2 Norwich “Next” Exit, followed by another sign reading: I-395 New London “NEXT” (in all caps) Exit. I guess its a fallback to New England’s pride in their ‘common sense’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When the earth finally gives way in the Azores or Canaries, sending a massive tsunami towards the Least Coast, the area may once again return to a navigable state. And I agree, who in their right mind would /choose/ to live in such a place? And would you trust them with your daughter?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that tsunami is the only sliver of hope for this place. I had also forgotten that it stinks, too. Can’t quite put my finger on what it stinks like, but it stinks. The entire state. And no, I wouldn’t even trust such people with my goldfish.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you. I don’t care much for cities or traffic. You are much healthier in NM. Hopefully seeing your family will make the frustration bearable. I am confident they love seeing you!
    I dare ya to find something beautiful to share. One thing.
    Be safe and hug somebody! 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I camped all day on Friday outside the Funhouse, but at approximately 10:30 in the evening, on the 8th, I had to pull up stakes and get ready for my early morning run to Reno.

    I then spent the better part of the next 36 hours either on my way to Reno, on my way back from Reno, or in various states of intoxication in Reno with 30 close friends and 15,000 drunken Santas.

    Upon returning from Reno, I immediately slept for 10 straight hours, and went to work. On my first break, I checked what I might have missed over the weekend, “out here.”

    So I am enjoying Saturday’s Friday Funhouse on a Monday, completely perplexed by your navigational quagmire in New Jersey because even though I’m back in Redding my brain is still recovering from Reno, and nothing makes a hell of a lot of sense today, at all.

    So, I’m going to watch John Roberts, yell “Dilly Dilly” one more time, in a cracked voice, and wish you a great week, Paul. May the road ahead lead you to the fewest possible tolls along the way. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s