THE LAST FIVE ...
Closing up shop
It may be time for a change
Entry in the air
Music of the moment
Or ... BE RANDOM!
Sunday, Apr. 27, 2003 - 12:09 p.m.
Damn this traffic jam
New Jersey Turnpike. Being caught in a traffic jam on an interstate is like being paralyzed. You know where you are and where you need to go, so you're not lost. But you can't move. You're aware of everything around you, of other cars, of animals, of the road behind and the exit ahead, but you're stuck there, not able to reach it, not able to go back. All you can do is sit. And wait.
Newark. Planes take off over your head and that's envy you feel at escape. You can plan an alternate route, take an exit before your intended one, and hope it makes a difference. You can get out the map and find how Plan B reconnects you to Plan A, but when traveling these unknown routes, you can never be sure if it's really going to make a difference, if it's going to go any more smoothly, if it's going to make a difference or if you're trading one evil for another.
Looking east. The best you can hope for is the changing scenery, a little more flow, a better chance to at least finding solace in movement. On the interstate, you can crawl along and see nothing but the SUV in front of you, the tractor-trailer beside you and the clunker behind you. The concrete barrier of the roadway prevents gazing into the distance, and you're looking more closely at the stripped macadam than you ever have. At least the rain has disipated to a mist, but now the light fades further beneath an overcast sky.
Exit 15E. Finally you say, "Fuck it," and take the exit, the only one between here and the next four miles to what you perceive to be the earliest possible alleviation of this congestion on the road, based on what you've been hearing on the regular traffic reports, and now you're discovering more scenes from the opening sequence of The Sopranos than you expected to today; but then again, you didn't expect to be taking 1&9 through Jersey City, now did you?
Backstreets. Only here, on the sidestreets, you learn Moom was as right as ever today -- the crazies are out, and you're sitting behind "normal" congestion (if there is such a thing) and it's no better than the highway was. But, you hope, at least it's not worse.
River Road. Almost home, the delay/detour now inching past the one-hour mark. But the fates have one more twist in store -- another accident, two lanes down to one, and although it's not where you're going, it's at the traffic light and you have to crawl forward with the traffic until you can get into the left-turn lane and be released.
Gorge Road. Acceleration. Heading home.
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