NATIVE PLACES: THE NEWSLETTER
A collection of thoughts and hand-drawn sketches that illustrate the value of looking closely at buildings and places.
New Jersey Rest Stop
Messy, like democracy
The car radio program was about immigrants, paranoia, criminals, distrust, and walls.
“Would you like a cup of coffee”, my daughter asked, as she turned on the right blinker and pulled into the Molly Pitcher rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike.
I like places like Molly Pitcher. They’re not much to look at, and maybe that’s the point: they’re messy, and a little uncomfortable. But you might see an oligarch standing in line behind a mother of three who works at Wal-Mart, or hear a chorus of English, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian- inflected voices at Arthur Treacher’s, as I did that December afternoon, ordering the Shrimp Boat Special for $12.99.
I ordered a small coffee (in a Southern accent) from the Starbucks food truck, and paid for it with three dollar bills, which had engraved on their greenbacks these words:
e pluribus unum.