And I'm never going back to my old school ...
Well, maybe. Last Saturday I headed back to Toms River. I haven't been to the Jersey Shore in the summer in years and years and years ... I always go out of season, and make a trip probably about every other year. Seriously, I may not have been back to the Shore in season since 1991.
Anyway, I soon remembered why. Traffic. Traffic. Traffic. Ugh!
But it was fun driving around. Nothing was the same, except the stuff that was the same. A lot of the old neighborhoods seemed run-down. I felt little emotional connection at all to the place, which was good. Usually I felt a negative emotional connection, and this was at least neutral.
Not a lot of remembrances, probably since so much time has passed and everyone I knew long since left Toms River. It's a nice town, but it's so built up and crowded that it bears little resemblance to the sleepy shore community in which I grew up. I'm not complaining, mind you ... I'm just saying. But there was still Del's Farm Market, where my ex's brother worked (and came home complaining about it, too). And there was ..., well, that was about it!
You know what was really weird? The music on the radio, and in the restaurants, and in the bars, was all from the 80s. It was Bee Gees and Cyndi Lauper and other assorted music that should have long since passed into the long good-night.
Oh yeah -- guess what? They put artificial turf on my high school football field (okay, so I did go back but only for a moment). If you can afford artificial turf, you're overtaxing the locals. But what the hell. At least the team wins now! Back in the day, we were pathetic, except the Class of 1980, which won a state championship. My sport was swimming, and the high school swim records were still the same.
My sense after this day of bouncing around down at the Shore: Living in Toms River seemed so long ago and that I'd been through so much since I've left that I was left was left feeling that it happened much more than 20 years ago, but a lifetime or so ago. Suddenly my age didn't seem right -- 41 seemed young compared to how distant the past seemed to me. Usually 41 seems old :)