I was at home in lovely Lancaster County, PA this weekend, working on the family’s Amish farm. Just kidding, I WISH. Modern technology has brought the choo-choo train to my small town, but I’m too poor to afford a full round-trip Amtrak ticket from NYC to Elizabethtown (Amtrak! Are you reading this? Lower your fares, please!), so every time I go home I have to do a whole, Trains, Planes and Automobiles scenario. Except no planes. And also no automobiles. So just Trains. Unless busses count as automobiles, which I guess they do (?), so Trains and Automobiles. Oh god. Just bear with me today, OK? I’m trying to cut down on my caffeine intake, as I fear it is the leading cause of some pretty intense gastrointestinal problems I’ve been dealing with of late, so at this point in the day I’m barely functional. Also, you’re welcome for that information. Is it possible for a woman to be too sexy? An-eee-waaaay, where was I? Oh yes, I was on a train! So what I like to do is to take the New Jersey Transit from Penn Station NYC to Trenton, NJ and then take the SEPTA from there to Philadelphia 30th Street and then I wait around that station for a while and take an Amtrak to my hometown. And then, on the way back, I add a Bolt Bus to the scenario to really jazz things up. This generally saves about $14 and doubles my travel time but whatever, fuck Amtrak! My trip was mostly uneventful (unlike the last one!), though I did spend some quality time with a strange Russian man who methodically unpacked and repacked three large suitcases, right in the aisle of the train, muttering quietly to himself in Russian. He had many shirts, bags of souvenirs (or drugs!) and a portable blood pressure machine. I also spilled hot coffee all over myself, and the floor, and spotted a man who logic would say was a Ben Franklin impersonator (we were in Philadelphia, after all) but I’m pretttty sure was actually proof that Ben Franklin is now either a ghost or a zombie. Is it possible to be both?
Whist at home I was forced to do something I swore I’d never try again. Crystal meth. JK! I love crystal meth. But I hate driving. I am, certifiably, one of America’s Worst Drivers. (Someday soon I will tell you the greatest tale ever told, about a lil accident I once had. Spoiler alert: mine was the only vehicle involved, and it happened in my driveway.) I’m a disaster behind the wheel and my anxiety only makes me more of a mess. 85% of the reason I live in NYC is so I can take public transportation. The other 15% is mostly pizza related. In the suburbs you have to drive, no matter how short the distance. If someone spots you walking in my town they assume you either got a DUI or are a migrant farm worker. It’s whack. But it must be done.
Monday afternoon rolled around and I found myself with many places to go, and no one to bribe to drive me there. So for the first time in at least a year and a half, I strapped myself in, strapped on a pair, and drove a car. And it wasn’t that bad! I didn’t hit anyone or anything! I may have gone the wrong way down a one way street once or twice but I blame this on poor city layout, NOT on myself. (Yiiiikes!)
My strategy, and this is a great one, was to drive like an old lady. We’re talking big sunglasses, hands clutching the wheel at 10 and 2, never breaking the speed limit. I’m sure everyone on the road hated me, but that’s certainly an improvement over running into stone walls. (Spoiler alert AGAIN!)
What surprised me was, the more I drove like an old lady, the more I became and actual old lady. Sure I had the windows way down and Mariah Carey way, way up (I dare you not to blast this jam http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfRNRymrv9k), but the longer I drove, the more curmudgeonly I became. A few blocks from my house, I was headed up a small hill when, down towards me in the other direction came a couple of teenagers (teenagers!) flying down the hill, weaving over the center line and I legit stopped my car, leaned halfway out of the window and, waving my balled up fist yelled “Slow down, kids! You’re going to kill somebody!” The driving may not have been as scary as I thought, but the image of me doing my best impression of that crabby old lady from the Hallmark cards is enough embarrassment to keep me out of the driver’s seat for another year and a half.
You know, this broad.
Now slow down. And get off my lawn.