On Wednesday, I headed down with Spencer and Roxy to NJ. This was supposed to be a simple trip. It normally takes us about 3.5 hours to do the route from our house to my parents. Now, I've never done the run solo with Spencer before, but we have taken some 2 and 2.5 hour treks on our own. So I thought I would be able to handle it without a problem. Little did I know... I prepared well the night before so we were on the road (meaning the highway) by 8:15 in the morning. An hour later, I still hadn't made it 20 miles. Two hours after that (for a total elapsed time of three hours) I had only made it 35 miles. Things were not looking good. Why, you might ask?! Well, the Great Flood of 2010, of course! Yeah. It figures that the day I have to drive to NJ on my own, there were massive rain storms the previous two days that resulted in the worst flooding in almost a century.Or maybe more than a century. I don't know. I don't care. All I care about is the fact that I had to endure the worst drive of my life because of it. Am I bitter?! Just a little.
So imagine, if you will, being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on I-95 with a crying baby and a whining dog and cold coffee. Then think about how you would feel upon seeing a sign that says "95 Closed. Please use alternate routes." I had been on the road for an hour at that point and was still pretty optimistic that this would just cause a little hiccup. Famous last thoughts. Thirty minutes after seeing that sign, the crying and whining had let up minimally... and I had wiggled my way off the highway to find myself in another traffic jam. I crept, and I do mean crept, along back roads for an hour to come to the last intersection before the next open on-ramp back onto 95 South. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel! I was so close I could taste it. Yeah, I wouldn't be at my parent's house for lunch, but there would be plenty of time to have a snack before catching the train into the city. Life was good.
Uh, wrong. I sat, four cars back from the intersection, for 34 minutes. Yes. Apparently, everyone going across the intersection thought they were above traffic signals, and just kept going through the red lights... blocking the road. I stopped counting after 8 cycles... it was probably over twenty light changes that we were stuck for. (And it was completely intentional. It wasn't one of those "oh no" moments...) You ready for the kicker?? There was a COP. RIGHT. THERE. Who did nothing. When people rolled down their windows and started yelling at him, he said "traffic isn't my jurisdiction." Well, thanks a lot buddy. You're about to have a full blown riot on your hands... I hope that's your jurisdiction (and I'm really not joking... people were about to start throwing things at the cars. Or worse. There was a lot of anger at that intersection.) (And to all my cop friends, I know you would have been better in this situation.) So anyway. A trucker 6 cars behind me decides that he's going to take action. He got us all squeaked over far enough that he could squeeze by. And then he barreled into the intersection, taking no prisoners. I think the guy in the Infinity pooped his pants. It was great. Then the truck stopped, blocking the traffic and let us all have our turn. Now, I'm not really an angry driver, but come on. None of us were enjoying being on the roads, why do you have to be like that?! I definitely had a little taste of road rage this morning, and man was it bitter. I also learned why no one should be allowed to have a weapon in their car. Or alcohol. Both would have been bad additions this morning.
So I finally made it onto the highway. I was cruising. Mile markers were flying by. Life was good. I *finally* got out of RI. (It took me longer to cross the smallest state than it normally takes to do the whole drive to Jersey. Ironic, no?!) And then... "95 S Closed. Expect Delays." Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME?! I seriously considered pulling over to the side of the road to have a good cry. But I decided to keep on "trucking" since the road was still pretty clear. I made it another mile when I saw the brake lights. I started slowing down and came to a stop behind a van. I looked in my rear view mirror to see a semi coming at me full speed. Now I was the one to almost poop my pants. Mostly because Roxy was in the way back... It was definitely a moment where I wondered if this was karmic payback for my evil thoughts about the Infinity guy. I was trying to come up with a game plan as I watched the smoke coming from his tires and smelled the burning rubber. Right as I was thinking, "I need to get out of this lane *somehow* even if it means hitting the car in front of me," the truck took a hard right and pulled into the emergency lane. He hit the guard rail and went onto the embankment in an effort to avoid me. Which he did. And everyone was fine. Just scared witless. (Me more than them.)
So, since I obviously hadn't been tortured enough for one day, I then sat in another 45 minutes of traffic. Luckily, 95 opened up again while I was in that traffic jam and I was able to stay the course without another back roads detour. Whew! I was finally able to hit a good pace after being on the road for five hours.
Finally, after 6 hours and 50 minutes, I reached my parent's house. Almost double the time it normally takes. We've only had one worse drive of 7 hours and 5 minutes. But that drive did not entail a crying baby and a whining dog for a third nor did it have the threat of violence at an intersection or nearly getting rear ended by a semi. So I claim that this drive was the Worst. Drive. Ever.
And I totally deserved that completely over-priced sangria at the bar.
At this point, Doug reminds me that he could claim Worst. Drive. Ever. for the time it took him six hours to make the 20 mile commute home from work during the Blizzard of December '07. And I remind him that he'll shush if he knows what's good for him. I kid. Kind of. Although, this was his idea to drive... so maybe not so much.
To end on an up-note, I can claim title of superwoman now. I managed not one, but two, rest stops on my own. Where diapers were changed, dogs were walked, and Mama got to use the restroom as well. (It was a seven hour trek that had two large coffees involved after all...) And not only that, but the second stop had no changing station but I improvised and got it done. We won't go into details, but I'm pretty sure there will be no long-term damage to Spencer's mental state.
My mental state may never be the same after that drive though.