"And Now You Do What They Told You." Or, "Do You Smell That?"
I’m not nearly as angry as that lyric is. I just can NOT get it OUT of my HEAD. It was on 92.3 last night as I was driving south on the Turnpike from school in the Bronx to the Boy’s in Staten Island.
Yes, I was on the Turnpike, not the Parkway. I have a brain glitch that makes me always mix the two up, but I thought very carefully about it, and I do mean the Turnpike.
Anyway, the incongruous Rage Agains the Machine song was the fault of my rental car, whose lack of a CD player, not to mention Sirius satellite radio, makes me scan continuously for any decent music. I hate that big silver boat of a Ford Taurus.
But I do love that stretch of road I was on, with the New York skyline shifting like a 3-D diorama in the distance on your left, and Newark Airport coming up on your right, with the lights of all the landing planes in a row stretching back into the sky. It’s not the most beautiful or poetic sight in the whole world, but it really is one of my favorites.
In passing, I must take a moment to mention the difference in smells in this general region. Now that it’s springtime, windows are open (the power windows are the only likeable feature of the rental car) and this is more obvious than ever. Yes, sadly, New Jersey, along the Turnpike, does smell; I admit this freely. However, it’s not exactly a bad smell – it’s just a really, really peculiar concatenation of smells. Not good, I grant you, but not decidedly bad, either. More just of the, “what IS that?” kind of variety.
And it changes rapidly from one weird smell to another as you drive down the Turnpike. I assume the changes happen when you pass from one chemical plant to another. I do hope my new Kiehl’s free-radical-killing night lotion counteracts some of the carcinogenic stuff I breathed in. But I digress.
Anyway, the other sort of smell is the New York smell. And that, my friends, is really just bad. There are, certainly, good New York smells – hot pretzels and roasted nuts are the two that come to mind. But I speak of the Staten Island smell. The dump.
“But it’s closed!”
Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t smell closed to me. Especially not on damp, breezy evenings. That, my friend, is a BAD smell.