I’m a Jersey girl, and yes, Jerseyites go “down the shore” not “to the beach”. Thing is, I left NJ in my early 20s, so I wasn’t really around for the scene on the horrid, horrid TV show.By that point, I was already hiking in the Tetons and Cascade mountains, drinking lots of coffee and enjoying Red Hook beer.
I do have a funny, albeit unusual Shore story from one of my rare trips down the shore with my big-haired Jersey friend. Like the show, she used to rent a room for weekend use only to spend her days at the beach and nights at the bars.We hit the beach on our first day in Belmar and were greeted by a patchwork sea of towels. It was like a game of concentration, with small openings between all these postage stamp rectangles of space on the scorching sand. She scoured the landscape and told me she always looked for a spot next to a group that looked like they’d have good stories to eavesdrop in on. And boy, did we strike gold.
In a dripping Jersey accent, a girl on the towel next to us was bemoaning the fact that her parents refused to clean and prepare their home’s in-ground pool to use during the summer that year. The reason? Her grandmother had died and her parents were still in mourning and dealing with estate arrangements. This little darling proclaimed, “Gweat, just cuz Nana doyed, we gotta sweat ta death!”That evening, my friend with the giant red hair and her friend spent about an hour blow drying and hairspraying before setting out to the bar scene. As we walked to the bar, we noticed the streets were flooded from the inlet that had overflowed onto the side streets in town. Cars were gently skirting the standing water as they drove back and forth.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a renegade. This car was heading straight for the flooded section that was right beside us and as I ran off the sidewalk toward the side of a house I yelled “RUN FOR IT”. Just then, on cue, the car hit the water, the water doused my friends and the car full of boys drove away hooting with laughter.
By the time I walked back to my friends. big hair hanging limply down the sides of their faces, we all burst out laughing. “At least,” we said, “we hadn’t used the WHOLE can of hairspray already, like some girls might have.” With that, we started to walk back home to dry off, respray and reapply glossy lipstick. But before we could reach the apartment, that same car circled back around and, you guessed it, hit us all a second time. What else could we do but laugh all over again?by