only in New Jersey (a traffic rant, yes, traffic)

only in New Jersey (a traffic rant, yes, traffic)

road closed signage
Photo by Athena on

so, I am back at work physically (at least a few days a week), although I have been working this entire time from home (thankfully, I do count myself lucky in that regard)… the first week back on a flex schedule was M / W / F… and man alive the drive was easy peasy, usually the Parkway is quite verboten on any weekday during normal times so I would avoid it like I avoid people these days during this covid plague, anyway the commute is literally 26 miles so I was only on the road forty minutes tops each day… truly a pleasure, listening to tunes while cruising, all the toll booths are breezy cashless EZ pass lanes, BUT… I should have known better, I should have smelled the trap awaiting me, lulling my finely tuned Jersey senses to sleep, oh Jersey, you tricky devil, I admit it, ya’ got me, and so transitions into this week…

sunlight beaming on green trees
Photo by WARREN BLAKE on

Tuesday: I think nothing of anything blinded by my experience last week, hop on the Parkway in the morning, cruising right along, not a care in the world, and then DEAD STOP, all lanes shut down to one, one.  ONE ! one, as in singular, as in a choke point dropped from the ever loving sky, as in “you have got to be F%&*!@# kidding me” one, rush hour, this is rush hour, it had been anything but… but it is still rush hour for those who are actually commuting, infuriating… and the cherry on top of this frustration sundae was an accident at or near the point of lanes colliding into that single file crawling snake of vehicles, awesome! I was past the point of any realistic turn off, I had no choice but to take my medicine, foul tasting as it was, and swallow it whole, two hours pass (super… slowly…), yes, two hours to go all of 15 miles, just the way you want to start your day! wouldn’t ya’ say?

angry man is screaming
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Thursday: OK, I may not be Einstein but I am not dumb either (somewhere in between I hope, I would like to think more towards the former), I am not making the same mistake twice, so I opt for the Turnpike, “there can’t possibly be a problem with eight lanes” (I think, well, you know what’s coming…), just for grounds-work sake, and those out of state, the Turnpike is split between truck lanes and car lanes (literally separate roadways), well, in the infinite, or non, wisdom of those who run these things, the entire truck lanes portion was closed, construction? who knows, all I saw was cones and lots of empty… lovely, empty roadway, for miles, not a dump truck, not a yellow vest, not a flashing yellow beacon of some semblance of work, just vast emptiness teasing me with it’s very existence, so all the huge trucks are piled into the car side, for me, I have to say, I do not like being between tractor trailers, it is like driving in New York City with the skyscrapers dancing around you, perception? OK, my reality, anyway, this was not quite as bad as Tuesday was, but that is like comparing breaking your leg to breaking your foot, am I being overly dramatic? perhaps, either way it sucked, I was late once again which isn’t the worst thing in the world but it sure is annoying.


Thursday night: OK, so I decide to go back to the Parkway, do I even need to tell you what happened? I suppose not but it involves all the lanes being shut down save one, sometimes this is like a weird low stakes version of russian roulette, you have to guess which lane is the one you should be in to win, otherwise you are stuck in merge-hell for miles, especially since some people act as if that one car space they took instead of allowing alternate merging is worth it or is getting them to their destination faster (hint genius: it’s not), with one little bit of luck for once I was all the way to the right, which happened to be the lane of choice, at least for this Jersey traffic gauntlet tonight, these times are the times I do question my living here, I have to say, but at least when I got home the mutt was there, unaware of course, or maybe cosmically aware (who knows?), forcing me to give her some love, and I must admit, dog’s can melt anger into nothingness, if you just let them…

Postscript: Saturday AM, Turnpike, there was construction, entire sections blocked off, I can’t win, I swear, but with so few cars on the road… I did make it in, on time (by a hair). And then my manager says “why are you here, you could have worked from home”…grrr… I should have brought the dog… (and yes that is her in the photo)

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