Vacant New Jersey

Bergen Machine and Tool Co.

Status: Region: Type: Gallery:
Demolished New Jersey Industrial 39 Photos

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Standing still with my head arched down, I gazed into my own eyes. Behind, I heard a single water droplet plummet from a soaked iron cross-beam some height above, its free-fall fate recognizable only by the sound it emitted upon smashing into the wet cement ground below. Without so much as a splash, the droplet quickly disappeared into the likeness of its own accumulation of liquid matter kind. The reaction of the impact caused ripples to form across the flooded ground. The tiny ridges of moving water spread quickly across the placid puddle I was standing within, distorting the reflection I saw of myself within the water. I noticed how my body bent and expanded between each passing and increasingly distancing ripple. In reflection I appeared askew, warped, drunken; an otherwise completely altered manifestation of the reality of my physical flesh and bones body, looming just above the puddle. With the passing of only but just a few seconds the ripples ceased and the puddle regressed to its prior tranquil mirror-like state. And my reflected image slowly transformed back into a recognizable figure.

The pump abruptly clicked and the black narrow hose jolted back slightly. I broke my stare with my puddle reflection self, shifting my head up towards the meter above. It displayed thirty-nine dollars and sixty-seven cents. I wondered if the attendant would jostle the nozzle handle to squeeze those last few precious drops of oil out, but primarily to make the transaction a flat and even forty dollars. I argued with my internal self, thinking optimistically that perhaps the attendant loved making change and would spare me the few cents in spirit of exercising basic mathematical skills.

I watched as a slender man emerged out from a plexiglass enclosed hut and approached my car. I'm sure the man must have been watching me as I stood beside my vehicle, just staring at my reflection within a puddle of water, for a heavy awkwardness shrouded my mind and the man's approaching presence felt crippling. "Shit, he probably thinks I'm lost" I thought inside my head within the mere seconds before his approach. "Goddamnit, what if he tries to spark up a conversation?" "Best case scenario he'll just think I'm retarded or some shit and look down and ignore me or something", or so I hoped. "Nice day!" he murmured. "Oh yea yea, yea it is", I responded, as I recalled seeing the reflection of a blue sky within the below puddle. He nodded and walked right past me, stomped through the puddle, and jostled the gas nozzle. "What a prick" I thought to myself before handing him two twentys in return for only an awkward stare as if he read my judgmental mind. He waited by the pump with his back turned to me while appearing to press some random combination of buttons on the face of the fuel pump. In time an abnormally long receipt paper, stained its entire length with a purple skid mark barfed out from the fuel pump's mouth. The man handed me the paper without uttering a word, but saying a million in expression. The receipt flapped in the breeze some, before I dropped it in the puddle.

I got back into my car, started the engine and gleefully watched as the fuel gauge needle quickly ascended from E to F, a most certainly beautiful but short lived sight. My GPS awoke from her slumber, reminding me in her lifeless, botched human-robotic voice that I was just a few miles from my destination. Killing those miles in just a couple minutes, I parked on a usual suburban side street and unplugged the GPS from her cigarette charger lifeline.

A old lady outside tending to flowers in her front yard across the street made eye contact with me, I could tell she new I was a stranger, I should have said hi; but no, that's too difficult. Instead I looked down and away, closed my car door. I pressed a button on my key remote, the horn beeped twice, indicating my vehicle was locked. I walked a short distance to my destination, contemplating what that old lady thought of me. Could she possibly know I was up to no good? Was she watching me walk away? I wanted to know, but I couldn't, it's too suspicious, too awarkward to look back. "I look innocent, I'm good", I spoke inside my head to my mind. "Well than perhaps that slender gas attendant really thought I was retarded", I dwelled. I felt embarrassed, no wait why should I feel as so, he's just a shitty gas attendant; I think? I'm better than him; maybe? I walked over a mound of loose dirt and into a desolate field of vacant buildings. The factory was empty, spacious, full of puddles to stand in, look into, and see the world as it reflects me. There was nobody here to judge, I was comfortable, felt normal.