I heard the Parkway was more like a parking lot last night, and I believe it. It took me almost 40 minutes to get from Farmingdale out to the beach in Belmar — a trip that should only take about ten or 15 minutes, tops. Damn shore traffic.
Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer at the Jersey Shore — the beginning of Friday night traffic on the Parkway, Benny* parties in Belmar, and airplanes flying over the coastline, advertising every bar from here to Seaside (commonly referred to as Sleazeside by shore residents). After Memorial Day, plotting your route to your place of employment out at the beach is like a strategic military operation — you need to avoid Rte. 35, train tracks, one-way streets, New York drivers, bad parallel parkers, Ocean Ave., draw bridges, drunk girls running in front of your car and all sorts of other obstacles. It’s totally insane.
A lot of people think Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest weekends here at the Shore, but the fact is, it only gets crazier as the summer wears on. By July 4th, the place is not only hoppin’ on the weekends, but throughout entire weeks — kids are out of school, the AVP Volleyball Tournament comes to town, Point Pleasant shoots off fireworks every Thursday night, etc. Getting into Bar A on any given night of the week is like waiting on line at Disney World — but then again, so is trying to get around the traffic circle on Rte. 34. By August, the water off the coast of New Jersey is not only crowded with people, but also with jellyfish. People love to moan about the jellyfish. Once the jellyfish come, the malls start to get really crowded, too. Bennys love to shop. They love to shop and they love to eat and they love to get drunk and pass out in baby pools on the front lawns of their summer rentals.
Anyway, so, here we are, Memorial Day weekend. Welcome, Bennys, to summer at the Jersey Shore! Ladies, put on those lime-green thong bikinis, hairspray that huge hair, and flaunt those five-inch hoop earrings! Guys, wax your bodies, sport your wife-beaters and don’t forget your bling! Crack open a few beers at Bar A and show everyone your moves, your pimped-out cars, and your awesome Jersey accents. It’s time to go Down the Shore and show us locals how it’s done!
*Benny is a derogatory term used by Jersey Shore residents to describe the utterly obnoxious bad drivers that visit our towns every summer. It is an acronym used to poke fun of those hailing from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, New York and the surrounding areas. What is known as a “Farmer’s Tan” in all other areas of the country is often called a “Benny Tan” here in Jersey. Sometimes, a north Jersey tourist will innocently ask, “What is a Benny anyway?” We just laugh and point and say, “YOU are!” I don’t really think they get it. One will commonly find bumper stickers declaring “Bennys go home!” on the vehicles of locals, but the truth is, while we don’t always agree with the way they dress and act and give Jersey a bad name, we secretly enjoy serving those jackasses in our restaurants and bars year after year, hysterically making fun of them in the kitchen and smugly going home with their money in our pockets.