Most nights of the week last year I would stagger home from class, exhausted from the day, anxious to relax, anxious to eat. I had worked all day and usually went straight to class at night. After finishing at nine, my reserves went down and my vulnerability went up. I wanted to eat anything. Anything that would fill my stomach. Anything that would curb my hunger and provide immediate satisfaction. I did not want to cook. I just wanted to get to the strip as quickly as possible. What’s the strip? The strip is a section of Delsea Drive that runs through Glassboro. For a few years of college, that strip was my provider, the only place where I felt like I had control and support. I could choose what to eat, where to eat it, and it would be there. No questions asked. The only wait was the line at the drive through, which I was happy to be in since it meant the end was near, the close to my day. I was minutes away from greasy satisfaction. Tacos and fries, and burgers. Oh my.
This strip of highway is unlike anything I had encountered before living at college. The food possibilities were endless. If you like burgers you can find McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Checkers. Mexican more your style? There’s a Taco bell and a Mexican take-out place. Are you feeling pizza? Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Dominos, and three or four local pizzerias little the highway. What about breakfast? Check out Dunkin’ Donuts. Craving deli food? Arby’s is right down the road along with a Wawa and two other local delis. In addition, there is a Chinese buffet, three Japanese restaurants, a local tavern, a Friendly’s, an Italian restaurant, and a soft pretzel shop.
If you’re looking for something healthy, your options are limited—Saladworks, Subway, or a well-chosen meal at one of the delis. Unfortunately, the healthy options close early. Saladworks closes at nine p.m. and Subway at ten p.m. Any time past that and you are left to choose from any of the gleaming fast food joints that populate the area, their neon signs assuring potential customers that yes, they are still open. Some, like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, are open for twenty four hours. All others are open well after midnight, which they are quick to advertise in the signs that populate their windows. To me, these restaurants were inexpensive, satisfying( if only for a few minutes), quick, and most of all convenient. For me, the drive to get to these places took longer than the service, and I was more bothered by that than waiting in the drive through line as I sped off in search of my perfect calorie ridden meal.
These photographs were taken with a Samsung Pl200/Vluu PL200. The photographs were carefully chosen in order to put the viewer into the passenger seat of a vehicle when reading through them. The set was arranged in order to communicate the notion that the driver is traveling north on Delsea Drive, makes a U-Turn in the Domino’s parking lot, and then proceeds to drive south. It begins and ends with an image of Burger King in order to denote the completion of the driver’s journey in search of food.
Here’s a link to my full photo essay on issuu.com. Delving into Delsea: Distorted and Desperate