The next time we go to Indiana (and we had a great time, spending our days poolside for the most part), I must remember one very important fact. DO NOT drive home on a Friday!!! Normally I plan our return trip on a Tuesday or a Thursday, because these are definitely the days with the least traffic. Don’t know why, exactly. But we’d never driven back on a Friday.
Big, big, big mistake.
I now know what being in hell feels like. It feels like you will NEVER GET TO YOUR DESTINATION! Ever.
The first problem, which has nothing to do with being a Friday, was that it rained the entire 13 1/2 hours we were on the road. (If you’ve paid attention in the past, you know that our trip is normally 12 hours door to door. I was fairly calm for the first 13 hours but the last 30 minutes did me in.) This was no big deal until almost exactly halfway through the trip. People in the Midwest know how to drive in rain. They basically drive the way they do in good weather, with a little more caution. And it wasn’t monsooning, just a steady, light rain. But the closer you get to the East Coast, the more rain is treated like some sort of supernatural phenomena, as dangerous as, say, vats of cooking oil being dumped on the road in front of you while demons loiter roadside, taunting you with lighted matches.
In other words, people lose their minds.
No one follows the rules of the road and it becomes a weird kind of obstacle course, with cars in the passing lane going from 75 miles an hour to about 50 by slamming on their brakes, oblivious to everything but an evil-looking puddle on the road in front of them. Truly unbelievable.
So the last 7.5 (sigh) hours of the trip required much more concentration than if it had been a dry day.
And don’t forget, it was Friday. Which apparently means that everyone in Harrisburg Pennsylvania leaves work at precisely 3:15 pm so that they all arrive on the interstate at exactly 3:30, thereby causing traffic jams for miles in every direction.
Add this to the fact that it was raining, and we moved 3 miles in 40 minutes. Ugh.
At just about the time I had mentally come to terms with the fact that we were not going to get home until around 7:30, I was treated to the bonus of two semi-truck drivers who thought they’d have some fun with the cars around them. One in each lane, they alternated speeds so that cars who switched lanes to try and get around one or the other of them would find a truck barreling down on them from behind, and the other truck blocking them to the side. It’s a little hard to explain, but it was pretty harrowing for those of us who just wanted to get to New York already! And did I mention it was raining this entire time? (If you’ve never driven next to a semi-tractor trailer kicking up water in a rainstorm, you have missed out on one of life’s more memorable experiences.)
Allentown. 30 minutes in traffic. Bethlehem. 10 more. Got to the Holland Tunnel at 7:10 instead of our usual 6-6:15pm. Amazingly the traffic at the Tunnel had cleared already, and I was sooo relieved. We’d get in the city, cruise up 10th avenue and be home by 7:30.
Naive, wishful thinking.
All the traffic that at 6:15 is waiting to get in to the city had gathered on 10th Avenue at 32nd St. It took us SIX turns of the light from red to green to go one city block. That ripping sound you hear is me tearing my hair out. So I turned down 33rd St., west to the West Side Highway, went 7 blocks north and sat for another 15 minutes while people who were still trying to leave the city jockeyed for position at 42nd St. Let’s just say I now completely understand road rage.
We pulled into our building’s driveway at 7:58pm. Said Ben, “Well, at least we made it before 8.” Ever the optimist. I got out and refused to drive the car another foot, so Joshua took it to the parking garage around the corner and the kids and I took the bags upstairs.
I have never, ever been so happy to be in my apartment!
And as Joshua said, we got here, and that’s the important thing. Maya thanked me for not crashing and gave me a hug. Our cat Cosmo gave us all welcome home licks. So as Shakespeare said, “All’s well that ends well.”
But I’ll never make that drive on Friday again.