A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Distractions, Conflicts and Annoyances

I've had some distractions, conflicts, and annoyances this week that have kept me from blogging as much as I'd like.

My wife is working for Uncle Sam as part of the effort to collect data for the decennial census. She's got a canvas bag that says US CENSUS across it. I would have thought that barking and biting dogs would be the biggest problem for her, but all that Dog Whisperer training has served her well. No, it's the barking, biting people who give her the most grief. She's a displaced worker just trying to make a little money, but people getting a knock at the door berate her or hide from her because to them she's a representative of a government that annoys or scares them. She's getting the job done, but some people can be real asses sometimes.

Anyway, her census work keeps her from picking me up at the train some evenings, which should be a minor distraction. I took the glass half full perspective and decided I'd get some exercise. Did you know it is three miles walk from Matawan train station to Cliffwood Beach? More importantly, did you realize it's even longer when the tide is high and the road is flooded at the bridge on Amboy Road/West Front Street near the appropriately named Up The Creek bar? It is truly a harrowing journey to walk Route 35 from Keyport to Cliffwood in the rain, but that's the only alternative.

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My iPod suddenly got too big for its britches this week and had to be banished to the corner of the room for punishment. The device has tons of memory capacity, but I didn't realize that all those songs were also being stored on my computer. Well, I knew it, but I didn't. When my computer started getting sluggish this week, I checked and found that my drive was nearly full. When I moved my music files, it wreaked havoc on my iPod, which is now stupid. I've been playing games all week trying to "sync" the little scoundrel. In the meantime, I've been offline while I resolve memory issues and try to get my favorite music and podcasts back in working order. Truly a work in progress.

Let me tell you: commuting is hell without my iPod. People on the train actually spin the ball on their Blackberries while they read long text messages. It sounds like they're winding their watches incessantly. And then there are the inane conversations. An elderly couple sat across from me yesterday. The husband kept talking loudly, either to his wife or on the phone to his adult child. The wife would shush him, but he never paid attention to her. He would make observations for all to hear. The train conductors are probably happy to have me in the real world when they come to check my ticket, but the passengers pay me no mind one way or the other. I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw.

BTW, the trains seem less crowded now that NJ Transit raised its fares to the moon. My tickets are partially subsidized by my employer, but there's been no change in the allotment, so the 25% whack is all out of my pocket.

My daughter is allegedly home from college. But that's another story.

I'll see what I can find out about the old Eckerd Drugs at Route 35 and Cliffwood Avenue. I hadn't noticed any activity, except the Aberdeen PD sitting in the lot now and then.

I heard that there will be a retirement event for Kathy Olsen at the Buttonwood Manor. I first met her when she was working in the children's section of the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library in the early to mid 1990s. She's served the community well and I hope she retires locally and finds ways to continue to serve.


  1. I love those anti-government types! There the same ones that don't have EZ-Pass with the sole reason being they fear the Government is tracking their movements.

    I am not sure where in the beach you live, but how about walking down High St / Aberdeen Rd to Matawan Rd to Cliffwood Ave to the beach? That may help you out with the high tide thing.

    Or, if you have a monthly Rail pass, it is cross honored and you can actually take the NJT bus from Port Authority and get off the bus on the corner of Aberdeen Rd and Matawan Rd before the bus turns down Matawan Rd toward Ravine Drive. I think it is the 135 bus. That would save you some walking.

    I used to take the train up until a few years ago. Over the years, I came to dislike the rude people talking on their phones the whole trip. Have some consideration for the people around you. My old boss pointed out they are ex-New Yorkers, the same ones that stand up after the Southbound train leaves South Amboy and stand by the door, only to bolt out at top speed and run to their car, etc.

  2. The bus is an interesting idea I had never considered. I'm a Newark commuter, though, so Port Authority might not cross-honor my ticket without a bump in the price. All the same, it might save me a mile. Too bad NJT doesn't serve Cliffwood/Cliffwood Beach. I guess those COAH folks on County Road just will have to grab up the many local jobs. ?

    The walk to Cliffwood Beach via Aberdeen RD and Matawan AV is the same distance. And high tide can be perilous there, too. Last time I walked it I noticed that the wooden walkway near the creek is starting to tip into the creek. I wonder how long before it collapses?

    I think the mad-dash train commuters are actually the ones who get off the train towards the front or in the middle. They run like antelope in a nature film trying to get to their cars before the exit onto Atlantic gets jammed with traffic. On the one hand, I can't blame them for trying to avoid the wait. But NJT needs one cop to keep speeds down so a pedestrian doesn't get killed and another cop to manage the traffic getting out of the lot after a train arrives. A traffic light would be helpful.