September 15, 2011


It's an indisputable fact that the drivers in Middlesex County, NJ are quite possibly the. worst. anywhere. You think I'm exaggerating, but I assure you I'm not.

They are the bottom of the barrel.
The dregs of the vehicle-wielding masses.

Driving down Route 1 feels like I'm taking my life in my hands every single mother-freaking time.
Whether it's rush hour or noon or 9pm matters not. They're always there. Veering around without signalling. Jumping across multiple lanes to pull in to some godforsaken strip mall with a host of decrepitly depressing storefronts. Crawling along because they are too busy texting or reading their iPads or applying mascara to care much about watching the road.
Whatever it is they're awful. Gosh awful.

And every morning and every evening when I'm stop-start-stop-start-omg-stop-starting along Route 1 to and from work I cannot even tell you how many times I scream out F***er because I have almost been smashed into or run off that miserable road by some completely incompetent fool.

And over the past year or so of this miserable car-commute - when you have to be on alert for brain-deficient driving crazies - I have been nostalgic for the train.

That same train I took for a year right after college - a 4 hour daily commute - which was also completely awful, but at least I could do other things! I gave up control and just sat there and if there were delays? So be it. I was just a passenger, sitting in my grimey sticky seat too-close to some stranger, waiting to get where I was going. And I read. Oh I read. A book a week, sometimes more, I plowed thru book after book and felt more educated, less sloth-like, kept exercising those brain cells. And I wrote. I wrote a lot. Usually about the creepers I encountered on said train. But I got things done. The commute in itself was productive.

And I never screamed out F***er. And definitely not 15 times in one trip.

But yesterday I took the train into NYC for an interview. A rush hour train, reverse commuting, but still. And lord it was insane. The Middlesex County people are just as INSANE on the train as they are behind the wheel! What is it? I mean, I could get pretty politically incorrect here about the racial composition of Middlesex County and venture a guess that there seem to be some extreme differences in social expectations when it comes to public transport. But. I'll leave that alone.

Maybe it's because I already suffered almost 3 hours worth of Route 1 driving before boarding the train, but ohhhh my gosh NJ Transit seemed more horrendous than I remembered it.

And maybe it's because I had already been commuting/working for 10 hours that day but I've got to say even NYC seemed even more horrendous than I remembered it.

For the past 4 years I've dreamily searched for NYC apartments and fantasized about meandering the streets from greenmarket to dance class to cafe to Pinkberry. And how I'll finally feel like I'm living my life when I'm there in the big city. (Anyone else suffer with this horrible problem? The "My life will start when/Things will be settled and perfect when..." affliction? It's really the pits. Doctors should really start working on a cure).

But I've been totally on the New York track. And I know there are things I won't like, and I can't see myself there longterm, but it's something I want to try. Something I need to do.

And then yesterday.... meh.

It's gritty and grimey and there were piles of garbage almost as tall as I was on every dirty sidewalk.
 Some punkass dude lunged past me and burped right in my face.
Some other meandering businessman was so busy looking in a store window he body slammed into me.
 It stinks like subway exhaust and hot dogs and god-knows-what-else and all that cement and I just dunno.

And in the end I was pretty excited when I got off the train in the suburbs of NJ and it smelled like clean air and grass and I went home to my boy and my kitten and things were humming along like usual and no one would have dared to burp in my face.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Well maybe "its a nice place to live, but you wouldnt want to live there". maybe