Last Tuesday, the denizens of the Jersey shore celebrated the start of what is lovingly referred to as “local summer”, which is a period of two or three weeks in September after the Bennies leave, when the roads are clear(er), the beaches are relatively empty, and the weather is still warm enough to enjoy various outdoor activities. The invaders from the North have made the trek back to where they belong until the next Memorial Day Weekend. For the past three-and-a-half months or so, the southbound side of the Garden State Parkway has been jammed with New York license plates, providing a slow-moving passageway for swarms of loud-mouthed litterbugs who make the shore a living hell for locals and the laughing stock of the nation each summer. The weekly invasion appears to start on Thursday nights now, as in the Benny universe, Fridays are non-work days.
What really burns my biscuits is the relatively small, but still noticeable faction of locals that defends the yearly benny invasion, touting all the “revenue” that it brings to shore towns. The reality is that municipalities see very little revenue from the influx of visitors as most of it goes to the state in the form of fairly brutal taxes. You also have to take into account the costs associated with significantly increased police patrols, litter cleanup, and incidents of property damage caused by people who don’t belong here. Furthermore, if locals could actually get to beach towns during the summer without sitting in soul-crushing traffic, waiting for hours for a table at any restaurant, driving in circles looking for parking, or having to fight for space on overcrowded beaches, they would. Therein lies the rub. The presence of locals alone would be more than enough to keep restaurants and other businesses in the black for the summer, but said locals can’t and won’t deal with the frustration of trying to do anything in their own towns.
The mentality borne by the aforementioned sect of locals is nothing short of traitorous, and is wholly unforgivable. To the faithful residents of shore towns- those who proudly affix “Benny Go Home” bumper stickers to their cars, who host “bye bye Benny” bashes, who have to spend an entire quarter of the year sitting in gridlock on the way to work or back home, and who can’t get to any of their favorite spots, I salute you. Stay strong and keep fighting the good fight.
For a brief moment, we have cause for celebration. Enjoy it, and then deal with the fact that we now get to trade benny traffic for stuck-behind-a-school-bus-as-it-stops-at-EVERY-corner traffic. Apparently kids on the same street don’t have to walk to one bus stop anymore, but I digress. This brief glimmer of hope for the end of the summer will be quickly forgotten, as every white girl you know will soon start gushing about her love for “hoodie weather” and begin flooding her Instagram with pictures of dead leaves, Ugg boots, and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. Well, this went down to Negative Town pretty fast. Anyway, get to the beach while you can!