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New Jersey Rest Stop
Messy, like democracy

The car radio program was about immigrants, paranoia, criminals, distrust, and walls.

“Would you like a cup of coffee”, my daughter asked, as she turned on the right blinker and pulled into the Molly Pitcher rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike.

I like places like Molly Pitcher. They’re not much to look at, and maybe that’s the point: they’re messy, and a little uncomfortable. But you might see an oligarch standing in line behind a mother of three who works at Wal-Mart, or hear a chorus of English, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian- inflected voices at Arthur Treacher’s, as I did that December afternoon, ordering the Shrimp Boat Special for $12.99.

I ordered a small coffee (in a Southern accent) from the Starbucks food truck, and paid for it with three dollar bills, which had engraved on their greenbacks these words:

e pluribus unum.