Are we there yet?

by Alice

“Are we there yet?” Joel whined from the back seat.

“We’ll be there in 18 1/2 miles,” replied Mike from up front in a very fatherly tone. Joel was impressed, and shut up. But Mike didn’t mean it, he had no idea.

“Where ARE we?” he asked Claire immediately afterward.

None of us really knew. The car was winding around back roads in the Catskills, following another car, whose driver apparently didn’t know where he was going either. We had left the cottage at least a half hour before to find a great waterfall, and we had all been under the impression that it was only about 15 minutes away. It was not.

But that driving time, along with the time spent at the lake, the time on New York state highways, the time lying in the hammock, (it was a great, relaxing weekend) provided me with some noteworthy thoughts. Two of them belong here, in this very post.

1. The Kentucky mystery

Contrary to what I had always thought, the Bluegrass area of Kentucky is called that for a reason. The grass down there is by no means a royal, Kentucky Wildcats Blue, so I decided long ago that someone made that up. But compared to the bright, florescent green of the Catskills grass, it is at least blue-ish.

As it turns out, the grass in Kentucky is an Old World grass from Europe, and it grows all over the nation. But there seems to be a bit of controversy as to whether other states that grow the same species of grass can market it as “Kentucky Bluegrass” since they didn’t grow it in Kentucky (Bluegrass Case Study). How did it get to be named after Kentucky in the first place? Who knows.

2. The New Jersey Mystery

None of my companions can quite remember how to pump gas. In fact, as native New Jerseyians, they are hardly ever allowed to. New Jersey law says so.

When I commented that this was an extrememly ridiculous law that didn’t make any sense, I expected them to defend it. Instead, they all agreed with me. Anna immediately whipped out her new iPhone, and announced, “Let’s google it….New Jersey self-service gas, origin.” (Because why would one ever pass up an opportunity to use an iPhone in the middle of nowhere?)

“Apparently it all started around 1949, when a man in northern New Jersey opened a multipump, self-service gas station. Threatened, the traditional gas station owners lobbied the legislature for a law to ban self-service–and they got it,” according to a Chicago Tribune article from June 5, 2006.

It seems that now people in New Jersey are simply too comfortable with sitting in their cars while trained gas pumpers fill up their tanks. HA! What an odd state.