My adopted home state of New Jersey carries a lot of baggage around with it: polluted, corrupted, rude, crowded, loud, expensive.
You cannot step outside the boundaries of this state without someone making a "Joisey" joke. And the entertainment industry has not helped (The Sopranos, Real Housewives of New Jersey, or Jersey-FREAKIN'-Shore, anyone??)
Two years ago, we attended a party with a bunch of Mark's high school friends and one of them launched into a story about the time some "big Jersey girl" sucker-punched her in a New York City bar. (How, exactly, she knew this girl was from New Jersey and not, say, Brooklyn or Staten Island or upstate New York was not clear. Perhaps while the woman was punching her, Mark's friend looked up and said, "Oh hey! Nice to meet you. Where are you from?" Or perhaps after being pummeled the two shared a beer and exchanged business cards. Since it was not explained, I can really only guess.)
Regardless, I would have to add that one more NJ stereotype is "tough." We are, I'm sure you've heard, a mean state. A bit violent. The Sopranos and Jersey Shore confirm this, so of course it must be true.
So why oh why do a few falling snow flakes turn this state into a quivering, frightened, scaredy-cat? I wish *that* had been an episode of The Sopranos. Can you see it? Tony steps outside the Bing ready to * % someone up, but when he gets outside - GASP! - it's snowing. Instead, he runs home screaming - stopping only once at the A&P to load up on TP and the ingredients for chicken parm.
I mean, really - it's just SNOW, for Pete's sake. And last time I checked, it was February. Which is - wait for it - WINTER. Apparently, someone forgot to tell New Jersey that in winter, snow is a regular, even expected occurrence. Sure, it's annoying and yes, it can make driving a pain in the arse. But seriously, the PANIC it produces is really confuzzling.
Last night, I went to the gym and then the grocery store because we were out of cat food. The people there loading up on milk, bread, eggs and TP was just plain amusing. It's as if they are afraid they're going to get stranded in their homes for weeks. (For the record, I know this is not a phenomena unique to NJ, but in all my years growing up, I can't remember a single time my mother made an emergency run to the grocery store before a snow storm).
For a little context, I grew up in the mountains of Western Massachusetts. We got snowstorms on a regular basis. I can remember it snowing on Halloween. We had one huge storm that "cancelled" Thanksgiving. It was not unusual to have to wear snow boots to church on Easter Sunday.
And school cancelled? Ha! Only if it was a true blizzard, meaning, snow of at least a foot.
Today's "epic, monster storm" (coined a "snow hurricane" and "February Fury" by the local news) dumped *maybe* three inches in my yard. Of course, school was cancelled.
I don't necessarily blame the schools. I know things are different now. I know everyone is afraid of getting sued. I also know the meteorologists cannot seem to predict a snowfall accurately to save their lives.
But seriously, NJ? Can we try to be a little tougher in the future? A little more Tony Soprano and a little less Olive Oil?
After all, you have a reputation to live up to.
* * * Editor's note: I've since learned that other parts of NJ did in fact get more than 10 inches of snow today, but I will only full retract this post if any of you are stuck in your homes until at least next Thursday eating only milk and eggs and printing out pages of my blog to use for TP. Otherwise, this is my story and I'm sticking to it! :-)
Labels: My soap box