A Reason To Believe

I am back East visiting my sister in Mahwah, New Jersey. I grew up a few towns over and whenever I think of Mahwah, I think of the Springsteen line, "They closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late last night." And that line could not be more fitting than right now.

I just went for a long run around her neighborhood and I can't recall witnessing first-hand what's happening in this country like I did in the past hour. Yes, I'm currently unemployed and my state of residence has one of the highest unemployment levels in the country, but seeing these homes in the condition that they are is utterly disheartening. It seems as if every 3-4 homes is either up for sale, in a state of utter decay or undergoing massive renovations (and who knows how long they've sat stagnant). And on that same square of a few blocks, I passed about five churches, all of which were in need of major renovations. I saw very few people, very few lights on in homes and just a lack of life all around. Perhaps it's my mind playing games after reading story after story about this collapse, but it appeared live and real in the span of a 30 minute run. As I was rounding the corner and had my sister's home in sight, I turned up the music and ran about as fast as I could. For a few moments, I felt great.

Tomorrow I plan on taking the same exact trip around the block, but this time with my camera. I hope to share a cluster of shots on my flickr page tomorrow.

Bruce Sprinsteen "Johnny 99"
Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late last month
Ralph went out lookin' for a job but he couldn't find none
He came home too drunk from mixin' Tanqueray and wine
He got a gun shot a night clerk now they call him Johnny 99
Dawn in that part of town where when you hit red light you don't stop
Johnny's wavin' his gun around and threatin' to blow his top
When an off duty cop snuck up on him on from behind
Out in front of the club Tip Top they slapped the cuffs on Johnny 99
Well the city suplied a public defender but the judge was mean John Brown
He came into the courtroom and stared poor Johnny down
Well the evidence is clear gonna let the sentence fit the crime
Prison for 98 and a year will make it even Johnny 99
A fist fight broke out in the courtroom they had to drag Johnny's girl away
His mama stood up and shouted judge don't take my boy this way
Well son you got any statement you'd like to make
Before the bailiff comes to forever take you away
Yes judge I got debts no honest man could pay
The bank was holdin' my mortgage they was takin' my house away
Now I ain't sayin' that makes me an innocent man
But it was more than all this that put that gun in my hand
And your honor I do believe I'd be better off dead
If you can take a man's life for the thoughts that are in his head
Then won't you sit back in that chair and think it over one more time
And let 'em shave off my hair and burn Johnny 99