Heaven and Hell and the New Jersey Turnpike

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!

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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.
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NYC skyline … breathtaking!

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One of my favorite pictures, c.2010

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?

– LJDT

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  1. Pingback: How I am Becoming My Parents | ROSES and ARMPITS

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