Remember back in the 80s when getting your car inspected in New Jersey was an almost all day project?

I realized last night that my inspection sticker was about to expire (have you checked yours lately?) and I went to the MVC Inspection Station in Mays Landing this morning. The number of employees seemed to barely outnumber the number of people waiting -- I was there with one other car and I was in and out in about ten minutes (and I even had a nice conversation about Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with one of the workers there, but that's another story).

NJ Car Inspection Sticker - Photo: Chris Coleman

Anyway, that got me thinking about when I was a kid -- back in the 80s and even into the early 90s, I remember when my parents needed to get one of their cars inspected, we had to make the long drive from Williamstown up to Deptford. When you got to the inspection station, there would be 30 or 40 or 50 cars waiting in line... and you would sit there... for an hour... and then another hour....... and then when you finally got to the front of the line, you had to flash your headlights and turn on your turn signals and honk your horn and then they stuck that thing in your tailpipe to make sure you weren't polluting the air even though your car just idled for two hours polluting the air. The worst was when your car failed inspection and you would get that giant red sticker on your windshield and when you got your car fixed, you had to wait in line all over again.

And keep in mind, this was in an era where, as a kid, you had nothing to do -- there were no DVD players in cars, no cell phones, no internet. You had to, like, talk to your parents the entire time.

It was brutal.

Thankfully, years ago the State changed the rules so lots of cars don't need to get inspected every year. Not to mention cars are a lot safer now. And the workers at the inspection station seem to be a lot friendlier.

And as great and hassle-free as car inspections are now, there's still one thing that bothers me...

Mays Landing MVC Inspection Station Art Installation - Photo: Chris Coleman

...what is this at the Mays Landing inspection station?