I don't get Channel Fever like I used to. Channel Fever is the screaming desire to build a raft out of the bodies of the people who stand between you and the shore. When I was aboard ships, everyone knew that the three days before you got relieved was a waste of time. People got the Fuck-its, if they didn't have things to focus on. I would be bipolar.
Those days are gone, of course. A 4-week trip is about all I'll voluntarily stomach. The days of 120 days on board are past por moi.
Even so, I'm standing my last cargo watch today prior to going ta hame, and, while I don't have butterflies, I'm absolutely ready to un-ass from here.
As always, on crew change day, confusion reigns. At some point I'm sure I'll get relieved, and then it's a matter, depending on the timeline, of getting out of Philadelphia, driving into New York via the Jersey Turnpike, across the George Washington bridge/24hr traffic jam, THROUGH New York City on rt. 95, and then the 110-mile stretch of stop-and-go construction traffic that is Rt. 95 in Connecticut. By the time I get to Rhode Island, I am cursing nonstop, and at the RI/MA border, a sense of serenity will set in. That's usually how I roll.
Now, I SHOULD be simply happy to be in my truck, on my way home. In a sense, I am. I simply have to run a gauntlet first. In crossing from New Jersey to New York City, I am crossing the Rubicon at the head of a column, in a sense. Feelings of dread and anticipation of a fight to come rise in my gullet like the one time I bought a Cinnebon roll at a rest stop. When I pass Co-Op city, and the bridge across some polluted creek, I am leaving New York City behind me, and entering the edge cities, where I'm sure to encounter traffic, but can open up my modest and simple pickup to highway speed for as much as three or four minutes at a time.
I much prefer the ride down to work, to be honest- I usually go during the overnight, when it's just me, some drunks, and professional drivers. The ride home is full of dread anticipation of the ride home, and impatience to pull into my parking spot at the Ant Farm, there to join my loved ones for the too-brief reunion. From the moment I get in my middle-aged ride, all I can focus on is getting home. The 6-hour ride (if there are no major delays) is a torment, like a blanket turned sideways that just can't cover one's feet and shoulders at the same goddamned time.
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