Tag Archives: New Jersey

An Incongruous Vehicle

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.

A Very Incongruous Vehicle

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.

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Jersey Fresh (Say What?)

One among many signs at the local Wegman’s Supermarket that announces a “Jersey Fresh” product.

Maybe because I hail from a state that has some claim to actual “freshness,” or maybe because New Jersey seems, still, even after living here for nine months, such a metropolitan and even slightly greasy place, the current  agricultural marketing slogan “Jersey Fresh” makes me chuckle in an NQR sort of way everytime I see it.

Admittedly, not ALL of New Jersey (especially the part where we live) is akin to the infamously trashy setting of the TV show “Jersey Shore.”  That’s up closer to Newark, in the badder ‘burbs of NYC.  Out here things are comparatively rural.  Comparatively bucolic.  But also waaaaay crowded and almost devoid of land actually being used for agriculture.  In fact, in those few places where you see fields (instead of housing developments or strip malls) nicely stencilled plaques usually can be found proclaiming that the land had been specificially “saved” as a rural preservation, like a tourist attraction!

So, while I’m a little ashamed to admit actually buying a few of these scallops (we’ll see how “Jersey Fresh” they actually are when I sautee them in a little herbed and garlicked olive oil tomorrow), the slogan definitely requires an entry here.  Bon apetit!