Thursday, September 09, 2004
( 9:12 AM ) teahouse
All Roads Lead to Manhattan
Yesterday I had to drive up north to Connecticut to visit a client. I couldn't have picked a worse day to do it - there was a ton of rain, and the whole city was in danger of flooding.
Here's a synopsis of my day:
5:00 a.m.: I haul myself out of bed. Want to get an early start so as not to get stuck in the reverse-commuting traffic.
6:30 a.m.: Arrive at rental car place and pick up my car, get on the road.
7:00 a.m.: Am inexplicably stuck on the FDR highway, which goes up the East Side of Manhattan. I've made it up the entrance ramp, but my car isn't moving. I look at the piece of paper with the client's directions: "1. Get on I-95."
8:15 a.m.: Still stuck, and have listened to my entire Coldplay cd. A cop comes up to my car, knocks on the window, and tells me, "There's been an accident. All lanes are closed. You have to back up off the road." He suggests I take a detour up First Avenue. I go into reverse and back up about 200 feet, off the ramp, until I'm back in the City.
9:45 a.m.: An hour and a half later, I'm crossing the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Bronx. It's taken me that long to go a couple of miles.
10:15 a.m.: I'm stuck on the Hutchinson River Parkway. Suddenly, I'm forced off along with everyone else. There's flooding along the next 5 exits. I have to take a detour. And I have to pee soooo badly, since I've already been in the car for over 3 hours.
11:00 a.m.: I'm driving around a residential area in Scarsdale. Have no idea where I am. The barricades prevent me from getting back on the Parkway. Call the client to say that I may be a few hours late.
11:30 a.m.: Find a garage station to pee. Call the partner to say I'm lost. He is unsympathetic. I find the signs to an Interstate. Have no idea where I'm going. I think I'm in downtown White Plains.
12:00 p.m.: Find signs to the Interstate. I realize that finally, after 5 hours, I have made it to step 1 of the client's instructions: I am, in fact, finally on I-95. It's raining so hard I can barely see 10 feet in front of the car. I slow down to about 40 mph and crawl along.
12:30 p.m.: I arrive at the client's office. They're all out to lunch. I buy a bag of chips from the vending machine.
8:30 p.m.: I'm finally done with the work. Everyone else is gone (apparently everyone outside of New York goes home at 5:30). I get back on the road. The radio says many of the roads are still closed. I have no idea how to get home. But I figure all roads lead to Manhattan, right?
9:00 p.m.: It's raining hard, and I'm completely lost. It's pitch black outside, and I can barely see the road. I almost die, like 10 times.
9:45 p.m.: I pull into the parking lot of a Burger King. I ask the teenagers where I am. They say, "You're in Yonkers." Yes, ladies in gentlemen, I was literally Lost in Yonkers! I joke, "Isn't there a play with that name?" The teenagers look at me blankly. I order a chocolate shake.
10:30 p.m.: Why do all of the highways and parkways have names instead of numbers? I don't know where the Major Deegan Expressway goes. Does it go into the City? What about the Cross County Parkway? Who knows? I keep bearing South.
11:00 p.m.: I see a sign that says "Tri-boro Bridge; Manhattan and Queens" so I take it. And I'm home! Woohoo! I return the rental car, go home and collapse in exhaustion.
I'm never driving again!!