Friday, December 19, 2008

The trip

I think I may have been a little over the top. I admit that driving on the shoulder of the road on the highway for about a mile, so as to speed past the line of traffic which was at a standstill, might not have been the brightest thing I ever did. Even as the lane seemed to narrow and just about disappear, I squeezed past trucks, avoided the remains of a tire, watched out for signs of the police, and headed for my destination at warp speed. I was not going to be denied.

I had left my office at about 4:30 PM to begin my journey. I had been in the middle of what seemed like a week long series of disasters relating to my work. As I conversed by way of conference call with at least 4 other participants, I kept repeating that I had to go, I had to go. I did.

The traffic to the George Washington Bridge was moving at a crawl. I weaved in and out, got into the lane that would dump me off in Fort Lee. I called my son to be ready. I rocketed through the sidestreets and arrived in front of our apartment building. It was 5PM.

My son hurtled into the front seat, and off we went. The trip across the bridge was slow and torturous. The minutes kept ticking away. My foot was paused on the accelerator, waiting for the slightest opening. Over the bridge, we crawled down the East Side Drive. The merge on 125th Street began on 140th Street. The slowdown on 71st Street started on 96th street. The clock and I stared at one another intently, anger in our eyes. Stop moving I silently yelled. Nothing slows down time it haughtily responded.

We called our daughter that we were closing in on her apartment. It was 6 PM. We were still in pretty good shape.

We arrived and I hustled with Alexandra to get everything together and in the car. It was 6:15 before the engine started up again and we were off.

I had never in my life been in the Queens Midtown Tunnel,which led into the LIE ( that is the Long Island Expressway, not the big LIE). I will never go on it again. It took us 20 minutes to get through the tunnel, as people rubbernecked in their cars to look at something of no interest that was happening in the other lane. It was now 6:40.

The LIE was a PARKING LOT. Crawling was really an exaggeration to describe the pace at which we moved. My sighing and running my hand over the top of my head increased exponentially. This was not good. It was almost 7:00 and the first exit off of this road had not been reached, and was no where in sight. It looked hopeless.

Then, a shoulder on the road appeared, beckoning me. I am going for it, I said. If I don't, we have no chance at all. I moved right, into the non-lane, with no cars in it, and hit the accelerator.While hundreds of angry people must have looked out their car windows, called me every name imaginable, given me the finger and wished I would run directly into a cop, I sped forward. It was 7:10 PM.

My daughter, in the back seat, made certain inaudible noises. While I think she might have been saying, please slow down, watch out, I am sweating profusely and I may be having an aneurysm, I was a man possessed and was listening to no one. It was 7:15 PM and an exit loomed just around the bend.

Thank God for the navigator. My son pulled out a map which none of us knew we had. Get off here. Go about 5 miles and turn there. Then you go 2 miles and you are just about there. Turn here. Get in the left lane now. We are just about there. There it is.

It was 7:30. The predictions for the weather in the upcoming days had led the airlines to tell people to forget about flying tomorrow. It was today, or forget it. This was the last flight out of JFK to Park City for the evening. If Alex wasn't on the 8:20 PM flight, she would not be meeting up with her boyfriend and starting a well deserved vacation until the cows came home.

We pulled up in front of the terminal. My son and daughter rushed out of the car and headed to the baggage check area.It was 50 minutes before the flight and we were not sure if we were too late. I peered out of the window intently. Suddenly, I saw a big smile on my daughter's face, and both my children gave me the thumbs up sign. Our odyssey had come to a successful conclusion. It had been over 3 hours since I left Hackensack, but it felt like 3 days.

As my son and I son began our return trip home, I slowly pulled out of my double parked spot, and into the line of traffic. A car sped by me, going way too fast. What a jerk, I thought.


1 comment:

Jared Alessandroni said...

Ah! I read that too quickly and thought that you were in an accident. Jeeps! Be careful with Richie Jay, any more adventure for him and he'll a-splode!