Moments of Not Quite Right can be found anywhere. Even here, in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s outside Princeton, New Jersey. Admittedly, this situation is more Jersey (or Jooysie) than Princetonian, since the Boro of Princeton is usually a world unto itself, seemingly unrelated to the state where it has been nestled.
Four main points of NQR-ness here:
First, notice that this a HUMVEE, with entry several feet above the ground either driver-side or passenger-side. Certainly use of this vehicle must be ostentatiously more difficult than average for anyone with the sort of unforunate handicap that might make walking from a parking lot into a store difficult. Yet the vehicle has a handicapped tag hanging from the rearview mirror (barely visible in the photo) AND is using that advantage to park in the spot nearest to Trader Joe’s main door.
Second, the personalized license plate says “POLKA 1.” While this might not be out-of-place in my native Wisconsin, the combination of Jersey, Humvee, handicapped, and Polka makes me not only wonder at the strange confluence of forces at work in the personality of the driver, but also brings into question, once again, the nature of the handicap. Is it a walking handicap? If so, why the Humvee? Why the proclaimed preference for polka?
Third, all of this is located at Trader Joe’s, an amorphously upscale, trendy, organic, granola-crunchy supermarket chain. Something’s got to give in my mental picture of the owner of this vehicle: tie-died shirt hobbling along with a tennis-ball clad walker, iPhones blaring Roll-Out-The-Barrel while browsing through a muscle-car magazine?
Fourth, and maybe worst of all given the Sandusky affair, the final piece of information conveyed by the vehicle is its support of the Nittany Lions. What weirdness has brought a fan or alum from Happy Valley this far across the eastern seaboard in his banana-yellow buggy, polkaing, parking in handicap spots, struggling to remount this oversized gas-guzzling giant of a vehicle at every turn?
It’s just odd. Inexplicably odd. But it should serve as notice that we Americans have more than our fair share of NQR.