Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ridin' the WAHmbulance

Well, I'm back at work. Once again I left the serenity of my climate-controlled bedroom to return to my little steel floating box for another 4 weeks of adventure and hijinks.
You know, I just really got the atmosphere in my bedroom to idyllic proportions, too. Cool air, warm wife. You know that wonderful, peace-inducing scent that comes when you've fallen asleep with your nose buried in your wife's hair, just above her neck? Shampoo, warm sleeping woman, and maybe just a touch of her perfume?

Yeah, I miss that.

Anyhow, it was a pretty easy transit from The Ant Farm to my little metal box. I woke up just before 1am, and while I was in the shower, my wife packed a night lunch for me. This seems to be becoming one of our traditions. Once I'm up and coffeed and energy-drinked to the gills, we both stop into my boy's room so I can check on him one last time.
It's a nice, peaceful way to be sent off to drive to work. I think I have to talk to my wife about not looking so damn good when I leave. I need her to wear curlers and a muumuu or something. It makes it that much harder to say goodbye when she's looking all exotic and distinctly not dowdy.
Anyhow, once I'm rolling in the truck, I start mainlining energy drinks and the 80's and 90's heavy metal music starts. There ain't no one feeling sleepy when Ozzy Osbourne's 'Crazy Train' is cranked to 11.
The ride from My part of Massachusetts to the Rhode Island border is pretty quick. I can drive through Rhode Island and be in Connecticut pretty fast, too. 90 minutes from door to the CT border during the overnight. It's the Connecticut drive that kills me.

By the time I'm halfway through Connecticut on Rt. 95 (the main highway running down the eastern seaboard of the US), It's now at least 3 AM, and it's just me and some long-haul trucks. By now my ears are bleeding from the music, and I've got soothing country or some Irish music on, as the caffeine and sugar from my drinks threatens to make me explode.
Something about Connecticut: they're always digging up and repaving the roads, and they don't know how to do this one lane at a time. Always in Connecticut, I'll be going from 70 mph to 0 on one of their fine 3-lane highway portions, just because there's a project being done in the breakdown lane on one side of the road. For some reason, only in Connecticut, they need 3 lanes of traffic to be closed to work on one lane. This means traffic stops. The good news is that it's 3am, and there's almost no traffic, so even stop and go traffic only takes 5 minutes, but still...
I'm pretty sure that they don't actually finish any of these projects. They just dig holes, then fill them in and pave them, then dig them up again.
So, while I'm entertaining myself with fantasies of stepping out of my truck with a brace of grenades and a clean conscience, I try to take notice to see the difference in the price of gasoline between CT and NJ, which will be the next place, God willing, where I'll be stopping the car. There's usually between a 45-50 cent price difference per gallon, which makes me wonder just how much of that gasoline tax in CT is taken up by the highway department playing tonka trucks on 95.
Anyhow, rather than be tempted to go inside a rest stop in CT and buy a $10 Mcdonald's diarrhea-inducing combo meal, I tend to pee on my back tire in the comfort of a dark parking lot and eat some fruit or a granola bar. So it goes when one is a late 30's fat guy trying to eat healthy. It ain't easy, is all I'm saying.

Anyhow, New York is really for me the crossing of my own Rubicon. Much like sex with Kobe Bryant, no matter whether or not you want it, it's going to happen.

I've had good luck traveling southbound through New York. Coming home, I always lose between 1-3 hours no matter what I do. Going to work, however, is usually done fairly smoothly... it's just when things aren't so smooth that make me want to seek out a tall building and a grassy knoll.
New Jersey is home to a fairly efficient highway system, which is good, as close to New York, New Jersey is merely the Cloaca Maxima for the fabled city. At the rest area, I can fill the 35-gallon tank of my truck, and have a nice cry over the bill, perhaps have a pee, and it's lunch time. Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife makes a mean night lunch. Usually it's a mix of leftovers and new stuff, whatever, it's good. By this time, it's starting to get light in the east, or maybe that's a trash fire, but whatever, traffic is picking up. Every now and again I get caught in front or behind a convoy of oversized cargo-carrying tractor trailers, and I have to boogie to stay ahead, or have to eat a leisurely lunch to ensure that I don't get caught behind the 35-mph convoy at one of the intersections where truck and car traffic come together. Either way, I tend to keep a weather eye open while I'm scarfing down lunch.
To celebrate my successful transit through New York City, I tend to shotgun a 16-oz monster energy drink, which makes me howl at the moon, foam at the mouth, and, I'm pretty sure, gives me the ability to fly and kill with my mind powers alone. Whatever it is, I drive through New Jersey and vibrate like a meth addict on check day. This is fun.
The rest of the ride is a lot like driving in the highways that cut through Boston Suburbs, pretty much at the same time of day. Traffic is heavy but moving well, periodically someone will cut you off and slam on their brakes, and then I'm off the highway and cutting through the industrial area of Philadelphia, which might be mistaken for Iraq's better bombed-out suburbs. From here it's just a short ride to one of the places where I'll either meet a boat to take me out to wherever my metal box is moored, or, if I'm lucky, I can pull up alongside the boarding ladder and throw rocks, bullet casings or dead cats (whichever is closest to hand) at the side of the House, so my relief will gently wake up to the sound of a bell gonging 6 inches from his ear, and know it's time to go home.

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