A taste of the Bad Old Days
When I started this latest only-on-Long Island assignment I thought that I wouldn’t have to deal with the sort of traffic nonsense that had often plagued me when I was driving to the Bronx and Westchester and beyond. Thursday was a very unpleasant reminder that the past is never truly gone, but rather lurks just below the surface, ready to rear its ugly head again. Or something like that.
The assignment was in central Nassau County, very close to the Roosevelt Field Mall, about a 35-mile trip. Getting there in the morning took me only about 40 minutes: Long Island Expressway to Exit 42 for the Northern State Parkway, maybe five miles on the Northern State to the Meadowbrook Parkway, and then less than a half-mile on the Meadowbrook to the Old Country Road exit. Traffic wasn’t at all bad and I had no reason to think that the trip home would be any worse.
I had been at this worksite for a couple of days last fall, and one thing I remembered is that it was raining very heavily both days. History repeated itself and it began raining around noon on Thursday. Silly me, I didn’t think it would matter.
I finished up for the day around 3:15 and got onto the Meadowbrook easily enough, but then encountered a long slow line of cars waiting to make the exit onto the eastbound Northern State. Not being too familiar with this particular routing I figured this was normal. When I got onto the Northern State it was basically a parking lot, but once again I didn’t know better and figured traffic would speed up once the Meadowbrook traffic had been absorbed. I spent about 20 minutes covering no more than a few miles, and (stupidly, in retrospect) did not get off a couple of exits that I passed.
Finally, I saw something I absolutely did not want to see: an electric sign announcing an estimated travel time of 27 minutes to the Expressway interchange, which was only a couple miles away! Another sign soon after announced that there was a crash a few exits ahead with the right lane closed. That’s right, knocking out one of two lanes was causing a backup stretching for close to ten miles. Did I ever mention that I hated rush hour traffic?
Relief came in the form of a sign announcing Exit 35S, Route 106/107, just a half-mile ahead. Of course it took me almost ten minutes to cover that half-mile, which would be a relatively slow pace on foot. Finally, I got off the cursed Northern State and onto the Expressway … unfortunately, given that (a) it was well past 4 by this point, (b) it was raining, and (c) many drivers undoubtedly were using the Expressway rather than the Northern State, there were huge backups almost all the way to Exit 61 over 20 miles away. I didn’t get home until 5:45, a beyond-ridiculous two and a half hours to cover 35 miles. You can imagine what sort of mood I was in.
Thankfully, Friday was orders of magnitude easier. My worksite was near Exit 57, less than ten miles away, and I had no significant traffic issues coming or going. I really believe that another Thursday afternoon nightmare would have earned me a one-way trip to a padded cell.
Gym: on Friday night I used the rowing machine again, this time going at a much faster pace for a shorter time. First, I did 2,500 meters, which took me just under 12 minutes, and later I did 1,000 meters in about five minutes. I also did 4 x 10 of my homegrown exercise with the 20-pound medicine ball.