Thursday, March 25, 2010

Stabbing Southward

This terrible economy is doing wonders for my commute to work.

One year ago it took me 6 hrs and 45 minutes to drive the 350-odd miles between home and work. I'm averaging 6 hours these days. I blame the light truck traffic coming and going from New York City, which some jerk put squarely in my path between the Ant Farm and the 24/7 dumpster fire that is Philadelphia.

Anyhow, the journey wasn't pregamed by awesomeness, for certain. I got to listen to Brazilian soap operas coming from my brother-in-law's place (he's got surround sound, I have thin walls... you know, tomato, to-mah-to) while I was trying to sleep, which meant that I only managed about an hour's rest before making the drive south. Thanks to sugary caffeine-bomb energy drinks, I made it to work without incident, levitating an even 3 inches or so off the seat for the majority of the ride from the 5lbs of sugar shoehorned into 12 ounces of eye- searing green water in each can.
I'm not sure exactly how much meth they put into each of those drinks, but I can tell you for certain that I was itching all over and had the distinct urge to rob a bank after drinking three of those cans. I couldn't breathe, but baby, I could fly. And kill.
I made it through New York so quickly that I was worried.
Something that I forgot to mention: I cleaned my truck out before I left.
Now that winter is for the most part passed on, I was able to remove the 3/4 of a ton of sand bags that I put in my truck back before Christmas. The extra weight from the sand makes my truck ride nicely over hard-packed snow. Plus, the reduced fuel economy helps spur demand for gasoline in my area.
No, in all reality, I double my gas mileage when I take the weight out of the truck. I got rid of the sand, the wooden rack that keeps my sand bags in place, and about 200 lbs of old leaves, soda cans and what I'm pretty sure was once half of a seagull.
Damn seagulls, getting into the bed of my truck and dying there.
So, yeah, my truck was feeling the weight loss. She rocketed.
Probably the most ridiculous thing about the voyage is how much time I save by not driving down the northeast corridor during daylight. My daylight ride home at the end of a month-long voyage is horrific. I might lose 2 hours in the 10-mile stretch of rt. 95 that cuts through the heart of New York, and Connecticut...
Well, Connecticut makes me want to euthanize myself. It's a featureless 2-hr drive through vaguely outer urban/suburban areas, and perpetually full of traffic-stopping construction that never actually gets finished. I wish, I wish Connecticut was a suburb of Chernobyl instead of being an annex of New York City.
The highlight of my ride, as always, is the ridiculous mix of 80's and 90's hard rock and heavy metal music that I always program in to keep me company. I usually prefer country or classical music when I drive, but the long-ass overnight commute requires Kiss and Ozzy Osborne to keep me company.
I watched an alarmingly-colored sunrise over the River Styx/Delaware River while waiting for a tugboat to pick me up and ferry me across the way to my barge, which was just starting to discharge the first of three cargo jobs aboard. I promptly made my bed and passed out into it.

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