Online diary entry: November 30, 2021

The above image is part of what I’m going to call “What’s Up?”, a series of pictures where I point my phone at whatever’s up above me, take a picture, and then edit it to high hell.

For times where I can’t come up with a snappy title, or for posts that don’t have a specific subject and tend to meander, they will get the standard title of “Online diary entry.” I think that works. If you think that’s boring or doesn’t need explaining, you might not get the whole “stream of consciousness” thing I’m going for here.

That came off rude. I meant it a little bit, but I apologize. I’ve been driving into Jersey for work over the past couple of days and have to go in through most of the rest of this week. After working from home for so long, I forgot how much regular commuting sapped my humanity. For many years I took the train from Brooklyn into Manhattan for work, and I dreaded each forty-five minute ride. My serotonin levels have hit record highs since I became a remote employee. I get to drink my own coffee. I can work in my slippers. For lunch, I can run down to my favorite sandwich shop if I want. It doesn’t lead to a loss of productivity; in fact, I feel more productive than ever, thanks to the improved mood.

But folks, I’ve seen things on the mean streets of Interstates 280 and 80 in the past couple of days that have made me spin into a blood rage. I arrive at my office and I need five minutes alone in the parking lot to let the vessels in my forehead stop swelling.

No one uses their blinker. I go 65 in a 55 and folks behind me want to go 66. Folks cross three lanes of traffic during rush hour just so they don’t miss their exit. That’s not totally their fault; the exits on Jersey highways are either not well-marked or so narrow that you’d have trouble driving a Smart Car through them. There’s a part of I-280 where the road splits into exits for Newark and then lanes to continue on the interstate. There are three lanes for the Newark exits, which no one takes. For continuing on I-280 towards Jersey City, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, and I-95 toward the George Washington Bridge and the Palisades – places where just about every commuter needs to go – there are two narrow lanes that are backed up for miles.

So let’s say you’re driving your sturdy Hyundai down I-280 and you need to continue on the road towards the Holland Tunnel, and your name is Will Sisskind. You see the line of cars all waiting to exit onto the causeway. Do you:

  • A. Get behind all of the other cars and wait your turn?
  • B. Drive up slowly in the left lane and try to sneak in?
  • C. Fly down the left lane at 80 miles an hour and make a 90-degree turn into the exit without any regard for human life?
  • D. Open the door, unbuckle your seatbelt, and tuck and roll?

If you’re me, you choose A, because you’re a conscientious driver who understands that while you have somewhere to go, safety is the number one thing to keep in mind while behind the wheel. If you’re a better driver than me, like Becca or some folks on the road with me, you choose B. You know you can be both safe and assertive, so you drive a little bit up the line until you see a good entry point. Maybe a car’s left a little space. Congratulations; you’ve cut out five minutes of time on your drive.

If you’re a psychopath like ninety percent of the drivers I’ve dealt with in the great state of New Jersey, you choose C. You choose C because you have homicidal tendencies. With all of this talk of funding the police, what good will it do if it won’t keep folks like you from going airborne and killing a family of twelve while trying to merge? Jesus Christmas Christ. I’m so glad you and your Ford F-150 with the Punisher and Blue Lives Matter bumper stickers broke seventeen traffic laws so that you could get to the anti-abortion rally. Good for you.

Don’t choose D. Why would you choose D? This is not Grand Theft Auto where your character has the physical fortitude of a bag of concrete. You have real bones and skin and probably a nice life as well. Don’t choose D.

Anyways, this is a big vent, as most standard online diary entries will be. I’m off the road now and I just went to the grocery store to get a bag of kettle corn for Becca and myself to share. No matter what happens during my day, whether I’m out on the road or not, at least I know I can come home to absolutely housing handfuls of store-bought popcorn with the person I love.

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