Friday, November 18, 2011
AEDM #16/17/18: Overwhelmed and prowling around
This was the week I went from being a visitor to a resident. When I settle into a new spot, I prefer to observe, and if possible not really talk to anyone for about a month. But my kids started school this week, forcing me to shed my cloak of anonymity, and so I'm feeling a bit bare and vulnerable at the moment. When that happens, I hide. And there are so many places here to hide! Suburban towns in North Jersey are not suburbs in the sense of the new, large and planned variety. They are petite, established, old villages, each with their own history and distinct flavor, yet they somehow shift effortlessly from one to the next through winding hills and non-linear roads and streets. Chain and big box stores do exist here, but they cling to the highways -- or accurately put, they are directly on the highways, so you have to bust into the parking lot at about 55 miles an hour. Miss the turn, and too bad for you. Just keep going, and keep exploring. There are many better things to see than Office Depot. The villages themselves are much more polished than Lawrence -- I don't think I could get away with Marshmallow Peeping any of the downtowns, for example -- but they abound in vitality and old world charm. And with Post headlines like the one above, I think my escapes to NYC will more than provide my requisite doses of grit.