Friday, September 18, 2009

Next Time, Just Stick Your Leg Out

On the phone yesterday with my grandfather. I swear, I make none of this up.

K: You got me into trouble.

Dad-Dad: I did? How?

K: I told you we were coming down this weekend when I called last week. You just asked Mom when we were next coming down.

DD: You're coming this weekend?

K: Sunday

DD: Oh great. Hey, when you do, don't get any more tickets speeding on the off ramps.

K (wearily): For the record, I've never gotten a ticket on any kind of ramp.

DD: No? Really?

K: Yes, really. I haven't had a any tickets in 6 or 7 years.

DD: You haven't?

K: Hey! Don't sound so surprised. That's not too shabby considering all the driving I do.

DD: That's true. So, no tickets?

K: No. Well, okay, I got a parking ticket in New Hope this past spring, but that was because they lied. The sign says you don't have to pay the meter for the handicap spot, but they mean you don't have to refill the meter if it runs out.

DD: Did you tell them that?

K: I did. I marched right into the police station that I was parked in front of and told them all about it.

DD: So you got a ticket but it was their fault.

K: Exactly.

DD: That happened to your aunt when she took me for my MRI today. She paid the ticket ahead of time, got it stamped "$3 paid" and everything. And then when we were leaving, the person asked her for $3.

K: But she'd already paid it?

DD: Yeah. They said that's why it didn't cost $7.

K: Wait a minute. I thought we were taking you for your MRI.

DD: Yeah! I thought so too! I went out to the curb this morning to wait for you, but you didn't come.

K (puzzled): What? You were at the curb?

DD: I was looking for you. You didn't come to the door and it was getting late, so I decided to wait at the curb, but you never showed up. Good thing your Aunt Jean was driving by. She swung over and picked me up.

K: She was just driving by?

DD: She was flying by and I had to flag her down. I took off my sweater, you know, my yellow sweater, I took it off and started waving it over my head to catch her attention.

K (laughing): That didn't hurt your arm?

DD: Nah. I stuck it on the end of my cane and started waving it around.

K: Next time you should just stick your leg out. That'll bring the entire street to a screeching halt.

DD (laughing): Yeah, okay.

K: So you got a ride then. That's good. When I overslept this morning I figured you could just hoof it to the hospital.

DD: I did! I was halfway down Bells Mill Road when Jean caught up with me.

K: That's what I'm saying! What, was your exam in center city at Jefferson?

DD: No. It was at Chestnut Hill.

K: Oh, come on! You could have walked that easy!

DD: I know! I probably would've needed a new rubber tip for my cane, though.

K: That road is so full of pot holes, anything your cane could've made wouldn't have mattered.

DD (laughing): I guess not.

K (laughing): You stinker.

DD: Yeah. So I'll see you Sunday afternoon.

K: Yep. Ticket free.

DD: Drive careful, hon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Celebrity Sitings a la Docce

Thanks to MJS, I read a so-called mommy blog almost every day at by Heather Armstrong who has a million plus following, so my little RSS feed is just one in a, well, million.

Considering I don't have children and don't ever plan to change that set of circumstances, it's a little weird that I frequent her site, but there it is. The dogs are a big pull, but I also like how Heather thinks and talks for the most part. I find her experience with writing a blog and the consequences and ultimate successes of it fascinating and inspiring (the successes, not the failures, obviously.) And I find her little snippets about growing up Mormon interesting as it reminds me that it's not just the Christian church (I mean the physical church, not the spiritual one here) that shoots it wounded and can mess one up left, right, and center. Reason number three hundred thousand why it's not about the people, people, an attitude that's it's easier to articulate than it is to emulate.

But I digress.

Today Heather has a trademark funny post about a celebrity siting she had in LAX and since I laughed out loud at several spots, I thought I'd spread the yucks around (caution: link includes adult language, so be an adult about clicking through). I'm insanely embarressed to approach a celebrity in such circumstances and the one or two times I have, I've been a total ass. There's just no hiding from it. So I get it and it made me laugh, so I'm sharing it with you.

Are you the lucky ducks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Transportation Triumph

Today's traffic alert e-mail:

As of 9:45 a.m., Midtown Direct trains (6600-series trains) are operating in both directions between Dover and New York , subject to delays of 30-60 minutes due to wire damage near Maplewood.

Gladstone Branch trains (400-series) will operate to/from Summit only. Customers traveling to/from points east should transfer at Summit Station to continue their trip.

Morristown diesel service (800-series trains) will operate to/from Summit only. Customers traveling to/from points east should transfer at Summit Station to continue their trip.

Customers traveling to/from stations between Newark and Summit: All trains in both directions will stop at the eastbound platform. Westbound platforms are closed.

NJ TRANSIT buses are honoring Morris & Essex tickets and passes.

Updates like this make me giddy because I am not on these trains anymore.

I rode the Midtown Direct from Millburn to Penn Station everyday for four years when I worked in the mid-50s on first sixth and then fifth avenues and later in Times Square (no, not on a corner). For three years prior to that I took the Hoboken Express train to - unsurprisingly - Hoboken and then the Tube to the World Trade Center. All were good commutes as far as NYC commutes go, an hour door-to-door on a good day, but good commuting days can be hard to find. Like the day the entire city subway system (so it seemed) flooded from a major midsummer storm and nothing, and I mean nothing, was running. I remember what I was wearing on that day (my beloved sky blue suit with the ankle long skirt, the only thing I would have changed about it); its calamity is still that vivid.

I get a similar rush of feeling on days the traffic report details back ups on Routes 3 or 80 and feel a particular euphoria whenever Route 495 is mention - the only direct route in or out of Weehawken and the main route to the Lincoln Tunnel. I spent five years driving the commute from Weehawken to Parsippany navigating its few highs and many lows, s0me days literally entering into vehicular combat just to get home (seriously, people, don't get in the left-hand lane if you're not even going to do the speed limit! 65 means 80 in New Jersey!)

Every time I hear an alert like this morning and know that it has absolutely nothing to do with me, I just feel blessed. And yes, there is gloating, I'm not ashamed to admit it. It reminds me yet again of how lucky I am to have found such a great apartment last year, how much better off I am now location-wise than I was then. Yes, it takes longer to get to Philly and yeah, I'm becoming intimately acquainted with 287 from tip to stern. And yet. I sat in my backyard yesterday afternoon with my laptop armed with music, key-lime fizzy water, and Hershey Nuggets and not a single siren was heard. Fortunately no one urinated adjacent to me either so it was all good.

Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen. Simple pleasures, ya know what I'm saying? Amazing how the little things in life can so affect my mood. I'm having a pissy morning in general, the back-to-work blah after a holiday weekend. The sky is cloudy and the air on the low side of cool that I'm just not ready to embrace just yet, best evidenced by the blue capris and t-shirt I donned for this chilly morning. Now I've just received news that I'm shuffling off to pitch in at our sister company down the road, so I won't even have the comfort of my own space to off-set the general ick of the day.

But at least I'm not on the Midtown Direct today or tomorrow or the next day and much as I miss working in the big city (Boy! Howdy!) I wouldn't trade this morning's commute for the world.

You gotta hold on to the little things that matter. That's all I'm saying.