Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lizzie Attempts to be David Sedaris.

Should one ever desire to see America at its heart, look no further than a rest stop off of the New Jersey Turnpike.

Monday last, after much preparation, packing, worrying over finals, and completing the rites and rituals that mark the end of one’s first year in college, I departed for North Carolina with two of my best friends from school, Brenna and Nora. My car held practically the entirety of my material possessions and the CD deck was armed with a slew of six excellent road trip mixes made by yours truly. We three women were young, independent, brave, and going to conquer the 750 miles that lay between us and my mother’s sweet tea like the collegiate go-getters we were.

And, on the whole, we did just that. There were relatively few incidents around New York City, the first worrisome area we bridged over. And prior to New York, Connecticut and the slice of Mass we flew through held no surprises.

But as anyone who has ever driven the East Coast will tell you, New England is nothing compared to the deplorable eternity one must endure while on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of lovely and dear people from Jersey. I’m convinced, if nothing more for my own faith in humanity, that the rest of the Garden State is mostly unlike the rotten quest that is getting through the turnpike. It’s unfailingly crowded, and, though I am as a privileged white American girl with my own car complaining about the well-kept mass transit road system with no real credibility to my argument, the turnpike embodies why some might call The Great State of New Jersey the Armpit of America.

When we three ladies could bear our full bladders and empty bellies no longer, we pulled off into the multi-faceted Mary Pitcher rest stop. Abundant in fast food chains half-restaurants, sunglasses stands, and two-liter cups of coke available for 99 cents, as well as they who are fond of such healthful food choices, this hallowed rest for weary drivers greeted us three with used condoms on the asphalt and the delightful aroma of the over-greased fries.  When we braved the realm outside the Firebolt (aka my minivan) we were most graciously welcomed by a woman suckling on an ice cream cone, staring blankly at our car from outside her own. Without explanation, I triple checked the lock and we then proceeded inside.

After a trip to the ladies room which, I might add, offered a weight scale that dually told you how much body fat you had AND a fortune for your future (two principles that apparently are indicative of the other), the three of us selected the least bathed in oil place we could find.

The name escapes me now, but the image of the place is ingrained in my sub-cranium. Adorning the walls of this trying-to-be-a-real-restaurant-while-in-a-Jersey-rest-stop were literally dozens of televisions portraying old clips from American Bandstand. The wall space not used to display discolored and obnoxiously loud archaic clips was bedazzled with autographs by third-rate rockstars and copied of album covers.  It was the quintessence of tacky, and at any rate I felt as though we had stepped into a badly lit set of a Cohen brothers production. At any moment ACTOR’S NAME was going to appear with an axe and hack through my dreadful potato soup while we three stared blankly at the numerous TV screens, none of which had quite the same coloration.  

Needless to say, we downed our overpriced and undercooked meals as quickly as possible… when not glazing over watching Ace of Base’s 1989 rendition of “Don’t Turn Around.”

Back once more in the Firebolt we went, braving the last stretch of the 170 miles it takes to get from one end of the Garden State to the other. But rest assured, ye lads and lassies, the nightmare of zombies pouring out from the denim-jacket-clad-walls to the tune of bad eighties techno has yet to leave me.

current jam: "over it over again" she & him
best thing in my life right now: my new camera!! it films in HD and my newest vlog, a book review, is uploading as a type!
days until departure: 16 days, 4 hours (WHAT.)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

First off, I very much enjoyed reading all of your insights on my Glee post. I have a first draft of a response to them, but it will have to be posted after this hellacious week has concluded. Thank you for challenging me every day!

Greetings friends!

As I have two exams to be studying for and two papers to be cranking out, I really ought not to be focusing my attention here... but as you all (hopefully) by now know, Osama Bin Laden was murdered yesterday in Pakistan.

I have, expectedly, a number of thoughts on this subject; hope that this wretched war in Afghanistan will end (even thought the pragmatist in me knows it won’t), despair for the woman used as a human shield for one of Osama’s men, but mostly disappointment. Disappointment that there is so much rejoicing in this nation over the death of someone.

No matter how evil Osama Bin Laden was- and I do not invalidate or claim those who lost their lives at his hand or by his orders were not of worth and precious to this world- but no matter how terrible he was, he was murdered. Americans should not rejoice in spilt blood, no matter the deeds of the now dead.

President Obama, a man whom, had I been of age, would have voted for to take office declared in an address to the nation that "[Bin Laden's] demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity."

I think human dignity says on a pretty basic level not to kill one another. 

And really, what is wrought from this? Will the wars end? Are any lives truly saved? Are those killed in 9/11 resurrected because of the end of Osama’s life? Is there ever any justification or gladness or relief to be had in revenge?

I contend not. 

current jam: "day'n'nite" kid cudi
best thing in my life right now: i had the most magical weekend outside in the sunshine! and obama's kick-ass speech at the white house correspondent's dinner. eat it, donald trump. 
days until departure: 29