A Non-Travel Blog: New Market Pond

numarquette
Huh. The iPhone 6 camera really isn’t bad in a pinch.

The pond sits almost at the very edge of my home town of Piscataway – just two or three minutes down New Market Road and you’ve already hit Dunellen. From there, you can buy a $20 something round trip to New York Penn, leave the suburbs in your bellowing wake, and lose the night wandering around after a few hours at that nice Japanese bar in the East Village. In that time, it’s easy to forget the small things your shabby stopover town has to offer.

So today, let’s forego the $20 something train ticket. Save it for a fast lunch later down this week. Park the car by the precarious intersection where the train whistles never stop blowing and the pigeons come to roost. Stay in town for the night.

Venture a bit closer waterside and you’ll notice all the signs warning you not to eat the fish – all sized small enough to remain unsettlingly vague as to why the hell not. The stories vary around town. Decades of pollution. Toxic runoff. Mutant pond sharks. The list goes on, I’m sure. Still, you’ll find no shortage of fisherfolk present on any given day – playing catch and release with the poor irradiated swimmers.

The water itself has two outfits. The first is for when it feels like looking young again – showing off that glistening, reflective veneer painted the color of whatever brilliant sky is hanging overhead that day. Check the prom photos taken there – you’ll see it showing off. The second is for sweatpant days, where it’s not as concerned, and sees no need to hide the teeming layers of pond scum floating in a green blanket on its face. The latter of the two is a bit more honest – the rotten core has just risen to the surface for the world to see.

From what I’ve heard, though, the sordid nature of this patch of pondwater is something that’s just happened with age. I used to have a physics teacher back in high school that always used to talk about when people could swim at New Market – back when they grew corn where the elementary school was, and the concrete wasn’t slowly anaconda-ing all the green. Can’t even imagine wading in there now. Might end up like one of those old cartoons – resurface after waddling waist deep with my ribcage and hipbones showing, either from acid water or piranhas.

But before you tell me to fuck off and drive to Dunellen for that train ticket, step back into last night with me. It’s 8 PM, and we’re sitting on the next gazebo down on the water, the one that juts out and wiggles and bobs when someone’s kid jumps up and down on the newly painted wooden planks. The sky is this brilliant lavender fire as the sun bows out slowly, the feisty 90 degree day ebbing out into the cool curtain of dusk. It’s a paintbrush that streaks the water. Even being there doesn’t do it justice. There are people sitting behind the railing from us, chatting in some other language, their laughter lifting into the air – carried away by a breeze that ripples the mirror – brushes the fountain. There’s a concert playing on the main gazebo. You can hear them from where we are.

They’re covering Marley.

You’re sitting there, smiling, in the town that’s seen more than a decade and a half of your life. The dirt is nowhere that matters.

Don’t worry. Be happy.

A Non-Travel Blog: New Market Pond

A Bit About Work

sweerve

Alright. Still riding the “post as frequently as I can” wave – just getting a little better at defining my rough schedule for this thing. Weekends are a bit busier for me, so I think I’ll keep my posts primarily rolling out during the week – see how that goes for me.

It’s 12:08 AM at the time of me writing this, on a beautiful 18th of July afternoon. I went a little too hard on a punching bag workout, and I feel like I’m going to barf.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

To get some meager pocket money, I work at a supermarket as a cashier. It’s not the only thing I have going on – I’m taking classes over at Rutgers, working on my own writing projects, writing for this blog, trying to snag internships, taking photos to post on my Instagram, playing Pokemon Go with everyone else, and KILLING it in Rocket League. But for the time being, scanning groceries is my job.

It’s what I do to be able to afford car payments, being out and about with friends, and alcohol, and I definitely don’t think it’s HARD WORK. And I’ve had a lot of time to think about that last statement.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel tired after a long shift. My legs ache from being on my feet for hours on end, my voice gets hoarse from repeating the same canned phrases over and over, and let me tell you -the dull *BEEP* of the scanners in the store are starting to bleed into the space between waking and sleeping – all Tell-Tale Heart like. But work for me boils down to lifting bags, cans, and boxes of foodstuff over a terminal scanner and shuffling it on down the line. It’s mindless drone work that, often, sort of gets relegated to the control of my peripheral mind while I’m making conversation with some of my regulars. It’s not challenging – so I’ve got no reason to complain about it like a lot of the people who work there tend to.

I think the main source of my ire for my part-time job is the slice of pie that my shifts there represent. Really, I’m not entirely miffed by any particular thing that happens while I’m wearing my shirt and apron. If customers are assholes, I never see them again. If the day gets hectic, that’s fine – it’s over soon enough. If management tries to flex, I’ve got no pride banked on my position with them, so they’ve got nothing over me. All in all, I think it’s just the time factor that tends to get to me sometimes. Six and a half hours per shift is a decent chunk of my day where I could be doing literally anything else. I could be working on more blog posts, signing up for more internships, working on my book, spending time with my friends – that’s what gets to me. The fact that my need to have pocket money takes resources out of the pool of time I need to actualize what I want.

But the beauty of that is that – reasoning notwithstanding – that’s STILL A MINOR GRIPE. The reality stands that this job is by no means who I am, nor does it altogether prevent me from actualizing what that is. And I wish that a lot of my co-workers could see that for for themselves. There are so many young twenty-somethings that work there, even a few thirty-somethings that are so weighed down by that logo-ed shirt they don for a few hours a few days of the week. It’s as if the experience is stunting them somehow – that the store is some kind of retail purgatory that’s got them in its grip, refusing to let them go. But there isn’t any shame in fulfilling necessity – as long as you don’t lose sight of the things ahead you’re really working towards.

To all my disgruntled retail drones out there – don’t forget that the uniform you hate so much isn’t the only outfit in that closet of yours. Do what you have to do to get comfortable, but don’t you EVER lose yourself along the way. Stay focused. Stay inspired. Get out there and make something.

You’ve got the time.

 

A Bit About Work

[AudioCoffee]: Storyteller

See –

when I was a kid, I

used to draw little

comic books

and make faces when

something dramatic came up.

Looking back, I figure it

was just my

head

breaking onto my lips

but

I wonder if little

me really got what was

going on there.

Unsuspecting pup

playing god without knowing –

a whole world

in his hands

before he would even spell the word properly –

P-O-W-E-R

the

means to hold sway

over the life you’ve created

still vibrant

and

buzzing

on lined paper,

blanketed with dust

in a closet

somewhere.

[AudioCoffee]: Storyteller