On Coke Zeros and MRIs

It has been three years since I last visited southern New Jersey, an area with amazing roads in the Pine Barrens forests … and very weird exurbs.

Case in point: Here in Toms River every traffic light seems to have a Wawa convenience store, a full-serve gas station and an open MRI facility.

Only one of those things is mandated by state law. Honest.

This morning over breakfast some wedding guests were going on and on about the self-serve waffle maker. Two guys, dressed in sweat pants and leather jackets, thought that was the sign this was a high-class hotel. (Dude, it’s a Comfort Inn on the highway.)

Meanwhile, their aunt, in an accent only those from Jersey or Long Island can truly replicate, told them – repeatedly – that her waffle wasn’t cooked all the way through. When they said you need to cook it a little longer and asked her if she wanted another one, she said no, why would she want another undercooked waffle? Her first one wasn’t cooked all the way through … repeat for 20 minutes.

The uncle sitting next to her was either severly hungover or had just suffered a stroke and no one had yet noticed, but that didn’t stop the two nephews from discussing how hot cousin Jenny looked in her leather mini skirt …

With that in my head to begin the day and a few hours before today’s rally starts (yes, I drove 800 miles yesterday to drive around here for 150 miles tonight and then drive 800 miles home tomorrow – you wouldn’t understand, so I won’t explain), I rolled down the road to pick up some Coke Zeros and pretzels for later.

I nearly crashed when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a sign I hadn’t seen in a decade.

We had one of these in the next town when I was growing up. All the hot girls got their leather mini skirts there …

iPhone, processed with the Helga filter on CameraBag