Last weekend, I drove up to New York all alone. That’s right, alone. Two and a half glorious hours blasting my radio, singing the R-rated lyrics to songs I usually have to censor, chatting with girlfriends on the phone without interruption (thank you, Bluetooth technology) and generally enjoying my solitude. A couple of hours without anyone calling me “Mom,” asking me for something, complaining, arguing or whining … It was like heaven on Earth!
The thing is, heaven starts to feel a bit like hell when you’re stuck in traffic alone for nearly four hours and you have to pee. That extra time did, however, give me a chance to reflect. Having driven the PA-to-NY route dozens of times over the past six years, I am an unofficial expert and, as such, have made the following observations en route:
- Mapquest, Google Maps and Waze are all liars. Despite what they say, it never takes 2-1/2 hours to drive from my house to my parents’. Maybe at 2AM it does, but I’ve never tested it to be sure.
- About 30 minutes in, my right leg cramps and my bum goes numb. Every time.
- Because I drink tons of water and have a small bladder, I am intimately familiar with every rest stop along the NJ Turnpike. The “Molly Pitcher” stop should probably be renamed for me.
- The “Trucks and Cars” lane is generally faster than the “Cars Only” side of the Turnpike.
- The Staten Island Expressway sucks and the Belt Parkway blows! Both are virtually parking lots all the time. Seriously, ALL THE TIME.
- There is at least one nose-picker in every traffic jam.
- The New York City skyline is still my favorite, hands down.
Despite these travel shortcomings (which are compounded by my impatient personality), I will continue to make this trip — repeatedly — out of love for my family. I just wish I could fly. Or teleport. Or at least not have a (literal) pain in my ass when I arrive.
Next month, I have to do it again. I’m gearing up now … Extra squats in the gym to prepare my tush and maybe a black window shade so I don’t have to see the nose-pickers. Think Target sells those?