I returned to New Jersey this past weekend—the state where I was born; the former center of the universe. I know that my middle daughter will be disappointed to hear that I just cannot live there again. I can visit, but I cannot stay there long enough to file my taxes.
There are many reasons. Let me count the ways. At the top of list is the weather. I like the fact that I have snow only every few years. The last highly significant snowfall occurred around Christmas 2010. On that day, we built a life-size snowman, made snow angels, and went sledding on the golf course. No such snow this year or last or the year before that.
I don’t want to shovel snow, worry about driving in the snow, or fall while walking in the snow. I do not want to go for extended periods of time without seeing blue skies, and I do not like to be cold.
I hate the cost of living up there. The price to own a home is outrageous as are the property taxes. I recently spoke to a woman from New Jersey, who looked into buying a condo in Myrtle Beach. When she inquired about the property taxes, she was told, “$500.” When she responded, “A month?” she was shocked to hear, “per year.”
Finally, I cannot stand the traffic. Living in New Jersey and dealing with the traffic is akin to living in Atlanta—without the good weather.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state, with over 1200 people per square mile. That is a bit too crowded for my taste. My current state averages 133 people per square mile. Ahhh! Doesn’t that sound more appealing?
There is a constant flow of traffic, which is why I decided two months after moving to Atlanta that I could not grow old living in such a congested city.
No matter what time I fly into Newark airport, I am always faced with a wall of traffic. At 2:30 in the afternoon, one would conclude that an accident was the cause, but no, it was the 1200 people per square mile factor.
While returning from dinner at 9:00 on Sunday night, we were again confronted with heavy traffic. It absolutely must be nothing short of a fifty-car pile-up, I decided, but that was not the case. It was the 1200/pp factor again. THERE WAS NO OTHER REASON! We stupidly doubted the WAZE App, which instructed us to exit the highway, so we got stuck sitting in the Jersey sea of traffic. Never doubt WAZE!
So I will remain a Southern Belle. Just blame it on weather, cost of living, and the damn traffic.