Of all the clogged roads in my beloved home state of New Jersey, Rt. 17 is one I try to avoid whenever possible. Predictably torturous traffic exacerbated by poorly designed on/off access is bad enough but the homogeneity of those endless strip malls can make me soul sick.
While painfully enduring this depressing landscape recently, I tried to spot a store that was not part of a national chain. Miles went by. McDonald's blurred into Barnes and Noble, quickly followed by the Gap. On and on, as the agonizing orgy of sameness and runaway consumerism continued, it was hard to avoid thinking about all the independent businesses that have been casualties of Covid-19. I know, I know - what a curmudgeon this blogger is.
The one thing that prevented me from sinking into further despair was remembering my last trip to Florida. Because as bad as Rt. 17 in New Jersey is - and it is bad - my driving experiences in Florida have been that much worse. What landscape fills with you dread like endless strip malls do to me?