The editor looked up from his typewriter and gave me directions to my first assignment.
"Just take the jughandle," he told this emigre from Massachusetts, to whom a traffic circle was a "rotary" and a jughandle was what the name said.
Take the what? I quavered.
Such was my introduction to a quintessential feature of driving, which is to say, life, in New Jersey -- a quirky cross-traffic turn arrangement sometimes called the "Jersey left."
And now the Garden State tradition that so flummoxed me so long ago is under fire, again, by a longtime critic in the state legislature.
Senator James W. Holzapfel, an Ocean County Republican, wants to ban construction of new jughandles in the state. "Their day has come and gone," he told the Asbury Park Press.
Like the traffic circle and the raised concrete median known as the Jersey barrier, or Jersey divider, the jughandle may have originated elsewhere but is strongly identified with the state.
And like our ubiquitous "merge, or die" lanes, jughandles add a certain...something to the daily here-to-there adventure.