New Jersey Gets A Bit Strange

Cape May Beach

Atlantic Coast Bicycle Trip
June ’77

New Jersey highways were in rotten shape, I mean impossible in some
places. The potholes and separations made biking extremely unpleasant.
I even had to get off and walk my bike in a couple of places. I’ve
been told that the roads will get better, but if one thing has
remained constant throughout this trip, it has been the “bad
information” I get from the average Joe on the street.

For four days I had been wearing the same shirt, so it was time for a
change. When, in a little New Jersey town, I passed a rummage sale, I
went shopping. I had a problem choosing the right shirt from all the
ten-cent shirts that were in front of me. I didn’t have a problem
getting rid of the shirt that I was wearing, though. It got trashed,
and since I liked the new shirts better than the only other clean
shirt that I had, I bought new shirts and donated my clean shirt to
the sale. As it turned out that was a good move because Don liked the
tank top that I contributed to the sale. He and his wife, Maryann,
invited me over their place for a shower and a hot meal. They were
originally from Michigan, and after some delicious fried chicken, a
shower and clean clothes, I said good-by to that very friendly couple.

As I continued on toward N.Y.C., the trucks (lots of trucks), buses,
and cars did not make for very pleasant biking—a bit of hell,
actually. I camped thirty miles out of N.Y.C. I figured it would take
another whole day to get through the city. It was pretty early when I
camped and as it turned out, I did not hide myself very well.
Fortunately, it was a friendly hippie kid who found me and instead of
kicking me off the property (his parent’s property), he invited me up
to his house, a big old house surrounded by woods. Once inside, I was
greeted by two more of his long-haired friends who were sitting at the
kitchen table smoking Tai sticks. I was invited to join them, so I did.

Jay was 17 years old and living in his parent’s house with his 15 year-old girlfriend. As we were smoking dope his mother came into the room and got a beer
from the refrigerator. I wasn’t introduced. I had become just “one of
the boys,” I guess. The four of us (the girl didn’t smoke) proceeded
to get really stoned while Jay’s mother and father were watching TV in
the other room. All and all, it was an interesting afternoon.

Oh, I forgot to mention that yesterday, while I was biking through
Cape May, N.J., a photographer jumped out at me. He was walking along
the sidewalk, as I was peddling down the street. He asked me if I
would let him take my picture. He also wanted to know if I would set
for a short interview. His newspaper office was right around the
corner, so I agreed. The short interview turned into a long interview,
and after a few more pictures I was on my way again. I’m not used to
being so popular. It was a strange feeling. He said the story would
run in a couple of days. I should have had him send one of the papers
to my parent’s place, but I guess I wasn’t thinking very quickly at
the time.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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2 Responses to New Jersey Gets A Bit Strange

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    Being popular is irritated. Sometimes.

  2. frizztext says:

    I agree: for biking extremely unpleasant 🙂

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