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Lincoln Tunnel

A little over a week ago we went to the NY Renaissance Faire. (Yes I insist on spelling it that way. Their website spells it that way. It is correct. Lofty, obnoxiously correct.) We had a great time watching knife throwing and jousting, eating overpriced fried foods, and enjoying the scripted antics of people dressed up like Shakespeare. On the way home, I did what I always do on car trips, obsessively checked Google maps for the most efficient, traffic-free route home. 

There are many ways to commute from Tuxedo Park, NY to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. All of them involve a bridge or tunnel of some sort, most of them through the fine state of New Jersey. Since I am a tad claustrophobic, if given a choice, I would always prefer a bridge. If it is New Jersey, I would prefer anything but the Lincoln Tunnel. Why such prejudice you ask? What difference does it make? 

It doesn't really. Only to me. I have some weird travel quirks.

In case you have never had the pleasure of this particular commute, here is a picture of the road that leads up to the Lincoln Tunnel.  It is called the Helix. 

Fancy, isn't it?
And here is a picture of the Helix during rush hour:

So, to recap, it is a long windy elevated road, full of slowly crawling traffic, with no exits, that leads to a hole underneath the Hudson river. 

All other New Jersey crossing have escape hatches. The Holland Tunnel has a bunch of gas stations leading up to the toll plaza where you can jump out of the misery for a moment to pee and grab some Twizzlers. The GWB has a few last minute exits. (Beautiful, beautiful Fort Lee!) Not so with the Helix. Once you are on that road you are on it until you die. Or at the very least, a truly painful half hour that you are never going to get back.

On this particular journey, Google Maps said there was an accident on the GWB so I told my trusty phone to navigate us elsewhere, into the Bronx, over some other bridge, far, far away from the evil clutches of the Lincoln Tunnel.

So there we were. On route 17. On another highway. On the Turnpike. On a road that...wait a minute...this road only goes to two places. Suburban Jersey. And...


It seems that after all my careful searching and refreshing and obsessing we ended up exactly in the spot I was trying to avoid: on the Helix.

Matthew just laughed at me. All roads are the same to him. And, in the midst of my frustration, I had to laugh too. What an absolute navigational failure.

In the end, it was ok. It was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend and traffic was pretty light. And, I got a very important life lesson out of it. A metaphor, if you will. 

I am one of those people who likes to plan for everything. You may call me neurotic; I like to think of myself as the ultimate boy scout. I am always prepared. Before I board the subway I make sure I have water, a snack, a pack of gum, some Advil, some Pepto Bismol, a book, a sweater, a machete and two sticks to rub together in case I need I start a fire. Ok, I am exaggerating. But only slightly.

Sometimes, however, shit happens anyway! God I hate it when that happens! How dare things break down! How dare people get sick! How dare the clouds produce rain! How dare you crash your car on the road where I was just driving, the road that Google Maps told me was completely traffic free! 

How dare things happen that I cannot control!
Like, um, almost everything!

Its almost as if no matter how much you plan, no matter how much you obsess and worry, sometimes you just end up in the Lincoln Tunnel anyway!!

But here's the thing about that. Even during 9am rush hour, you get out of New Jersey eventually, right? I mean, it may feel like forever. But really, it is just a teeny tiny fraction of the whole big timeline that is your life. So you can kick and scream and honk your horn and in a few hours it will all be over. Or you can exhale, turn up the radio, smile and eat some Twizzlers, and in a few hours it will all be over. 

I generally do the first thing. (I am really good at kicking.) But I am trying to learn how to do the second.

Wishing you all stress free commuting this week.
Now, off the the L train....


Yeah, about that.....


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