juxtapose / traffic

juxtapose / traffic

‘Why is traffic not moving?’ sipping my coffee, nearly on gulps, a swig of spring water, the minutes turn to fifteen, fifteen feet maybe moved, on the turnpike, no exit within sight, I fiddle with my radio, adjust the tunes, tap the wheel, pretend to be happy with the distraction, and I am, for at least an instant, then I realize, coffee gone and downed, halfway through the spring water… I look up and focus for once time in an hour…
I am stuck in traffic behind a truck, carrying porta-pottys, the irony- not being able to go and not being able to go.
I guess I will have to hold it… (and my frustration)

that sunset grin.

that sunset grin.

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

so there I was…
riding off into the sunset, um, ok, driving into the sunset, coming back from my first covid test, been lucky to avoid the arrows until now but a couple of coworkers tested positive so these are the times we are living in, enough about that really, more about the sunset, sure, we are not talking shoreline paradise here, route 1 south in edison nj, but somehow, someway all that dropped south of my view, a really nice near perfect orange half a globe sitting there on the horizon, I must have been travelling near due west, well, maybe slightly to the left, this time of year the light is not blinding, well, mostly, so I was literally driving into the sunset, a smile came upon my face, I mean, if this was my last moment, why not go out with a grin, I can’t complain about my time, sure, I would like more, and probably have plenty more, but some day, sooner than I can contemplate, the world will be tired of me, and fate will dial up my number one last time, so why not do it with a grin?

I merge onto the garden state, just to jump a couple of exits rather than deal with all the local lights, I need only stay in the right lane, not even a mile once I am on, why in the world is their traffic at this hour, ah, I can just wait it out, it is not bumper to bumper but is certainly not the open flow I was expecting to go, I could jump a lane over, ah, c’mon man, relax, not that far to go, apparently not for some of those in front of me, jumping ships, or lanes and then I see it, my exit and also the slow culprit, what are the odds they are getting off at my exit? ahhh, you’ve seen this movie before, me too, 990% chance they are going my way, thankfully I am still wearing my sunrise smile and am just amused at the situation, other days maybe, other days I might have lit up like a firecracker enraged, but today? nah, lucky him, well, I can’t say him, in fact, the car in front of me looks quite empty, whomever is driving is tiny, or invisible, probably just short, I know it can’t be an automated car, to my recollection late 90’s corrollas did not come with that feature, now, off my exit there is two ways you can go, of course slowrolla is going my way (turn signal? not so much), I am laughing now, I am not sure if the people behind me are as amused but, hey, this is my blog story man, get your own! of course the first right is my turn… and the auto car turns, of course, I finally lose the person (assumption, you never know) near the home stretch, only a couple of more turns to go… I suppose I missed the baton hand off, because slowrolla has a relative, or a cohort, a partner in this crime, with a mercedes SUV, at least this looks occupied, and it also occupies the whole road, I never understood compensating for parked cars by driving on the wrong side of the road, must be me, on some other day I might be loosing my mind, but today? I’m in on the joke it seems, the slowcedes turns off literally the street before mine, “here ya go, a little scrap a tidbit” the world says to me as at least the way to my driveway was clear, I park, shake my head for a second at the absurdity, and retire inside to write this piece, still with that dumb grin shellacked on my face, from that sun that has gone under by the time this is done.

notes… not just because this post is Epic, well. it probably isn’t, but I am just on a FNM kick lately, Angel Dust is my jam, one of the best weird albums ever made that kind of made in mainstream.. of course I am partial to Mr. Bungle but what do I know…

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 Pexels.com

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 Pexels.com

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 Pexels.com

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)

beauty and the beast, traffic for thought, jersey style…

beauty and the beast, traffic for thought, jersey style…

black and white lights sun ray of sunshine
Photo by Little Visuals on Pexels.com

(poetic mind)
high beams behind me
on the highway
like bright glaring eyes
a predator’s eyes stalking
a jaguar’s eyes blinding
blinking, back down to the ground
now back up upon the pack

why the f#@! does this f@#$%^g jagoff have his god*$*% brights on?
this is the most well lit road in jerzee! this is the friggin GSP ya’ dumb mook!

(proceeds to slow down to put my brights on in retaliation)

no, I’m not proud of it, but sometimes the times get the best of me, this was one of those times, I admit it.

and the difference in a day…mere hours separate…

and the difference in a day…mere hours separate…

winding road photography
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

how things shift, magically, well, OK, quite naturally, but damn it seems like magic sometimes, my yesterday mindset seems just like a forgotten relic of the past, a lost wagon train on the plains on trails before highways, the snow, what was of it, has melted away into the witness protection program, transferred somewhere upstate, even though, I have to say, the temperature is much colder today, thirties, all day, but somehow… someway, this is a better day, the sun is bright, if not warm, just bright, and brilliant through the trees now as there is no leaves left to absorb the inferior solar tilted version in winter, stark naked lines outlines of trees against the blue, some clouds here and there but mostly strands of gossamer across an azure canvas, nothing more, the air is crisp, a strange thought, but something about cold winter, still winter air, just has a certain feel when you inhale, almost like you are drinking it through a straw, at least that is my perception, how things align, today is my ‘late’ day to work, so along with the weather cooperating the traffic is a usually a toothless tiger, and it was, what a difference one hour makes in the commuting rat race, at least in this state, even the road seems nicer, sure, concrete and asphalt are not going to win any pageants but they sure look better bathed in the bright sunlight, I can spot the the batches of rust on the bridges and make out images in them like cloud formations, this is truly a conspired concert of events all coming together in the polar opposite way, than yesterday, I can hear little orphan annie in the back of my head, where the hell was she yesterday ?… well, at least I found a cozy parking spot, in the back lot, I’m actually a few minutes early, how novel, for this week, so that is the lesson, a simple one I suppose, one we all ‘know’ but perhaps need to throw our selves a reminder now and again… the sun will come out tomorrow, or perhaps ‘could’ is more accurate, but find a field and bury your doubts, you never know when things will turn, for the better, the chance is always there when you open your eyes on to the next day’s dawn.

Metaphors metamorph on the way to work…

Metaphors metamorph on the way to work…


a rock mountain surrounded by snow covered ground
Photo by Thomas Vitali on Pexels.com

I wonder about peaks and valleys, and which I am in, the grind, three days of mind wrenching winding traffic, each day a new excuse for this vile serpentine of red braking lights, stops and starts, twenty some odd miles that stretches into hours, three days of unrelenting mess, monday, rain, somehow rain is anathema to brains, I truly can not explain the phenomena, I don’t enjoy being late, but I don’t rather leave even earlier and wait, and wait some more, tuesday, more of the same, not sure of the problem that day, an accident rumored in the truck lanes, perhaps, makes no sense that traffic on a separate road is slowed due to an unseen wreck, that wrecks the entire morning, that feeling, when you finally make some progress but then look at the sign ahead and realize you barely have made headway or halfway, and then maddening local ordinances make street parking an asinine adventure, a loop d loop traverse around the neighborhood until a proper, semi-legal spot is found, for now, only to run out and move the car in an hour, to avoid the local ticket brigade, more than happy to enforce the one inch you crossed toward the end of the block, then there is today, wednessday, snow in the forecast, snow on the car when I left the house, none on the road mind you, barely any on my hood mind you, but like rain snow apparently blinds cognitive ability, and certainly motor vehicle functionality, I begin to wonder if I am a mountain, being sucked under into a subduction zone, for at least then I will melt and be remade into vibrant new magma, but these days I feel more like an old mountain, bordered on the sea with waves pounding upon me relentlessly, eroding me, piece by piece, grain by grain, into the ocean, dissipated among the shores barely aware of my once mighty mountain cohesion, death by a thousand laps but death just the same, like slowly sinking, one day realizing your height has left on permanent vacation, maybe it is all this gray, the concrete median, the asphalt, the lack of sun for three days, the shorter days, the monotony of urban construction projects in bland display, I always thought to myself why don’t they decorate some of these bridges with art, these damn drab bridges crossing over, all the same, one by one without a name, not deserving of one either, overpass number such and such, just past mile marker such and such, and spiraling down thus, I look up, there is snake rock, NYC skyline off in the distance, the snow is just enough, just enough to coat things evenly, like a beautifully breaded perfect recipe, just enough so you can see the original lines under of everything, the tree branches, the rock outcrops, not so bad I thought, finally my exit reveals around, still a little late this morning but nothing out of total bounds, I pull up to the office, make that left I always make, and behold a spot right in front to take, or even three, hard to believe, I feel like a kid stealing a candy bar from a grocery store, I twice look around, I know to heart all the local laws, today is not a restricted day, here is not a restricted spot, for once I have to give in, and believe in my luck, so perhaps this is hump day after all, and I am at the top of said mountain, not realizing I was climbing, all this time.

notes… does this need any ?  curious of your thoughts after reading this…. are there any  other commuters out there? hello? is this thing on ? tap … tap … tap ….

quick shot perspective (aka the puppy effect)…

quick shot perspective (aka the puppy effect)…

adorable animal black black and white
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

the morning shuffle, daily, I have been trying to pause for a moment before I hop in my car for the morning commute, to just pause, take a gander around, maybe spy the sunlight creeping through and around the branches of the trees that tower over the backdrop of the house, maybe find a squirrel milling about, a flock or one of the local birds, get lost in the minutia of wondrous nature, of the natural world around even here in suburbia, for just a second, take it in, ingest it like a day’s nourishment if you will, take the feeling with me to fuel some sense of wellness for as long as I can stretch it to last, to remember my place in the universe, the wonder of a planet spinning all the time, my feet quite tethered to yet unaware, but this morning I was in a rush, in a huff, no thinking about doing the right thing and enjoying a moment in the proverbial sun, of course there was none, sun, that is, this morning, just ominous grey swaths haphazard across, blurred and bound I rushed to my car unknown to sight or sound, just on the mission to get to work by nine, on time, or else, but sometimes life intervenes on your own behalf, out of the corner of my eye, down the block, enough of a ways I had to grab a second look, a neighbor, whom I could not identify out of a line up for my life, walking a dog, but not a dog, quite obviously a young one, a puppy, just the word rings the brain and resets perspective, ‘a puppy’, some sort of husky mix thing, paws more like over size rain boots two sizes too large, curiosity streaming from every posture pose, leash taut in stretch directions as all things are new, I wanted to pause and say hello but time would not allow, but time did allow enough, for that moment of puppy love, and things seemed more alright, for at least a few moments thereof.

Music… obvious…

the sun will come out (or so I am told, I’m not convinced)

the sun will come out (or so I am told, I’m not convinced)

taxi on the road
Photo by Victor Miyata on Pexels.com

as much as I love rain, and thunderstorms (specifically), sometimes the wonder is shadowed over by angst or perhaps the persistence of the rain, driving in urban new jersey is perilous enough, throw in what looks like the contents of a washer on psycho spin cycle up against your windshield and even the staunchest optimist-acrat can become trodden down, last night was such one of these nights, no end to traffic in site, no accident on my side, not that I can see anyway, the whirring of flashing lights, ambulance, tow truck, fire truck, police, all speak to the seriousness of the wreck I can not even see, but in front is a winding river of endless angry red taillights, behind me a cauldron of various states of humanity, ranging from frustration, to anger, to the begrudging acceptance of fate, this night, a one hour drive stretches miles into two although the toll feels more like years shaved in-artfully off my soul, like a blunt object piercing my skull (think head butting a bowling ball, rinse, repeat), I should know better than succumb, but the seductive sirens sitting there on the concrete medians sing their song seducing, and lure me nearly into the rocks amidst this throng of mass humanity, somehow, by providence, sheer will, experience, and perhaps some blind luck I make it home without a scratch, aside from the aforementioned carved up and beaten about soul, I should know better, and have a firewall in place to brace for such equations, but sometimes 2+2 adds up to more than four, or my math skills have deteriorated past the point or no return, at least for now, I arrive in my driveway, did I mention I hate traffic?

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

so this brings me to this morning, nothing unusual there, the humidity is making my car sweat, or perhaps the rain when I slept, no matter, I pop my trunk and water runs out on my arm good enough to soak a sleeve, “ah, continuation” I think, and so it goes, on down the road, same lefts and rights and lights and cars, of course there is an accident by the on ramp, why wouldn’t there be? getting to work on time becomes more of a fantasy than concrete reality, just more salt in the old wound I suspect, and the trek, why would the turnpike be clear this morning, thursdays are for traffic they say, or they don’t, but I think it anyway, anything to keep my mind drifting into road rage, which is a misnomer, I clearly am not mad at the road, the road can not help the lack of planning that has it crowded so, besides the poor thing is out here all hours of night, in all weather, so who am I to gripe? against my fellow man, woman or whatever, perhaps then, I watch people in my mirrors jockey in the lanes like slow motion indy 500 drivers, somehow I think myself better than them as I stay put in my lane, a little pocket of joy pops when I pass them, and a sliver of grrrr when they pass me, just the same, what the hell am I doing contemplating such things? feeling the swirling, like flushing down a drain, the rain is still in the zip code but relenting, and then, as if I texted the sky gods, the sun decided to have a go, a little late, but better now than never, you know one of those times like it seems the sky has opened and the very light of heaven is streaming down ? yeah, something like that… literally as if I had reached up in my basement and pulled that old string attached to the too short chain attached to the rickety light bulb that is probably older than dirt itself (judging by the dust cloud puff), the blazing sunlight bathes my car from hood to rear like a curtain pulling back, and then quite suddenly I felt a sense of, I don’t know how best to describe it, joy ? uplifting… joy? joy-spiration? (sure, that works) I did not literally turn 180 degrees as that would be foolish (and illegal, not to mention dangerous) but my spirit certainly did, in an instant of just abundant joy, from a mere smattering of sunlight revealed, and people wait on street corners for drugs… I should corner the market I tell you (if I could bottle the stuff)… but anyway, the moral of the story, well, OK there is no moral per se, just a reminder, a little spark of joy might just be around the corner (or the next one), so when you get dressed in the morning, remember your underwear (important), lace up your shoes with some hope, attune your ears to receive positive radar pings, warm up your eyes to the idea of possibility, be open to the world… and you may, just may, find a little slice of heaven out there just waiting for your to discover… or even just some crumbs of happiness, I’ll take either or the latter…

close up of black bird
Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

notes… so I will leave you with that, I have a rare weekend off and I am going to venture into the wilds of New Jersey… yes! there are wilds here, mostly coastal salt marshes and such, and sadly I have never been to every corner of my own damn state!  shame on me, so I aim to fix that record, I will be traveling near Smithville…. in between some more famous places but after driving by a few times over the years it is time I stopped by and stayed awhile, at least a couple of nights, a king suite with a jacuzzi doesn’t hurt, just sayin’…

if you like the free form and rambling rambling rambling style please visit my Collections & Series page, scroll down to the Essay section… and to all who read this far or this at all, I bow, and say thanks. I do this for me but share it for others to see…

Traffic Spotting… (a curious way to spend a lunch break)

Traffic Spotting… (a curious way to spend a lunch break)

selective focus photography of cars
Photo by Aayush Srivastava on Pexels.com

work was getting to me, my usual brick and mortar exterior was showing cracks, is this Monday? which is even a worse thought when it is not, but then you think “well, one day closer to the end of the week then”, which holds your hope over for about four seconds before returning to the pounding pace, the check in stamping work clock ticking just above your right shoulder, ever closer, sure, you flick your head around and it retreats to where it actually is, but that sneaky bastard just keeps ticking and mocking you just the same, the phone, I swear they work in tandem, tick – ringinging – tick – ringinging – tick – ringinging, is anyone going to answer that goddamn phone? and half the time it is one of my technicians calling.  I believe it was jesus who said that you if you teach a man to fish he will eat all year, or something to that effect, well, I have taught some of my technicians to fish… but they wind up casting their lines in parking lot puddles, and I assure you the catch there is certainly not edible, nor is their ineptitude understandable or put-able on a day like today, in between thunderclaps of the boss’ pages, I decide to dash for the door, even a dreary wannabe rain day beats the inside of this joint today, I think of braveheart as my inner soul screams “F R E E D O M!!!!!”

building buildings closed clouds
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ah, lovely suburban Hackensack New Jersey, a collection of non de-script homes nestled ‘tween aged industrial buildings of little or none architectural flair (a true monument to utilitarianism boredom), the gleaming, bustling highway route 80 off to my left (scene of the morning crawl), the effervescent Hackensack river one block behind me (nothing can live in the water it is so utterly polluted), the once black mulch adorning the sides of the walkway with lovely petals of newport and marlboro scattered about, ah, this is my refuge from that cubicle of torture (even though it is a not a cubicle, I might actually prefer the semi-privacy granted by such walls), I need to catch my breath and shake off the ox plow of the day, what better way than to amuse myself with the viciousness of local traffic, I swear I saw fangs bared (I could be mistaken), but the strict adherence to subtle traffic common law does bring out the beast in people, take more than two seconds at a light? you will get a rather subtle reminder from the courteous traveler behind you, sometimes even shouting encouraging words such as “move it moron” or “what the f’ is wrong with you, you stupid piece of s*!”, who on god’s good green earth would dare question the civility and harmony of humanity in times such as these? I was also unaware that the stretch of local road outside was an honorary speed race track (I think it is christened Chuck Yeager memorial or something), and off they go in all sorts of various vehicles gunning it down the street to some unknown checkered flag, all to my amusement, there are lights every 100 or so feet as you approach downtown, and the courthouse as well, oh well, these brave pioneers know better than I, I am not sure if I witness the death of courtesy or both sides being, well, complete friggin jerkoffs, my neighbor across the way, this sort of blair witch house thing, that has been through (barely) many floods, and certainly even more occupants, not sure which has done more damage but both wind up leaving various furniture and objects at the curb in their wake, but back to the traffic at hand, my neighbor whom I do not know (we office types do not mix with the ‘residentials’, it is forbidden or to say it with more panache – ‘verboten’), he decides to just back right up into the street with nary a pause, well, Mr J Lexus was having none of that I tell you, I mean I get it, I truly do, being the first to sit at a red light is quite the high honor, but it was hard for me to decide who was more in the wrong here, technically ‘we-be-jammin-can’t-see-through-the-night-tinted-glass-Lexus-man’ had the right of way, he clearly demonstrated this with a light tap on his horn that lasted nearly ten seconds, I could not hear the verbal gems he hurled at my poor lonely neighbor, who incidentally took this verbal assault to simply back up right into the road and force a sudden stop of a different car (one of lower standard in the caste system than Sir Lexus the Great), I can’t tell you how much this whole scene amused me, and I think I got a couple of death stares in my general direction, but I felt safe with the door to my office within grasping distance of my big white rear in case a hasty retreat was needed, so I filled my lungs with the filthy air of industry, racing cars for no reason, the highway fumes floating down like smog mana from heaven, and I was revived…can I get an Amen (cough * cough *)… but I must admit I felt refreshed, revitalized, ready to put on my invisible armor and march back in there to the battle that can not be won, but I struggle on, with renewed vigor, renewed belief in the goodness of man!

Epilogue: As fate laughs, down at me, as fate would have it, this very night, driving home (as I tend to do), I get off my normal exit on the GSP, no biggie, I make the usual turn onto Magnolia (glad there is no train arriving @ Metropark), and WHAM… a livery vehicle in front of me (that’s a fancy taxi to the uninitiated), said livery vehicle proceeds to race ahead at 10-15 mph in front of me… honestly at this point I could have turned into a traffic madman like I expounded about in this post, but alas, I just laughed at the utter irony of it all (being I wrote all this today), and let the jackass behind me do all the road rage-y stuff for me, you know, the swerving, the lights, the horn, this just amused me more and more, local street, double yellow line (no passing), so I just bided my time and livery guy made a left, “good luck” I thought to those behind, poor bastards. (and heck, it doesn’t hurt to have some good tunes to take the old edge off, I must admit).

music?   Silly fun rock…

Scatterbrain – Down with the Ship

silly but performed so well, can you recognize all the songs and riffs (so many classics in there) ? ? ? ? and with that I sign off my friends, as always, all eyes, loose eyeballs, looks, half looks, stink eyes, and other none such… are… well appreciated. tell your friends, ego has a blog, and this is it…