I have driven from Washington, DC, to NJ/NYC many, many times. Like hundreds upon hundreds of times. Literally. So I know my way around I-95. Sometimes the ride isn’t so bad. My best time was 3 hours and 15 minutes door-to-door. Other times, it fucking blows. My worst time was 6 and a half hours during one of those brutal summer Sundays.
Until last night.
I was in NJ for Christmas (more on that to follow) and decided that, due to multiple anxiety attacks, it was time to head home to DC. You know, so I could calm down. So I dropped HC off at his parents’ house and bailed on my plans that day, including a friend’s 30th birthday party which I feel awful about, so that I could sleep in my own bed last night.
Well, mission accomplished – I slept in my own bed last night. But good lord, it was a long road to home last night.
The drive from NJ to DC should work out like this: 2 hours to get from the George Washington Bridge to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, then 2 more hours to my apartment. (I can go into more detail, but I will spare you… and me.) This wasn’t even close to how things worked out yesterday.
I set out on the road at 12:30, dropped HC off, and was on the road again by 1:30. Traffic was a wreck. Seriously, terrible. See, the problem with I-95 (or “The Turnpike” as it it most commonly referred) in NJ is that, for reasons that escape me, the two 3-lane spurs of 95 merge into one 3-lane road that then merges down into a 2-lane road. All of this merging leads to ridiculous back-ups. So it was 4pm and I was still in NJ. More than 3 hours on the road and I still haven’t gotten out of NJ. This is not good.
Then comes Delaware. I am convinced that Delaware serves only two purposes: 1) to exhort money at the $4 toll, and 2) to cause the most absurd traffic in just 6 exits, which can’t be more than 20 miles. There might be a third purpose to Delaware – like friendly corporation laws – but that’s not relevant here, so two reasons it is.
Forty-five minutes later, I was still in Delaware. G-d, I fucking hate Delaware. I just don’t understand why Delaware is such a hot mess.
Finally, I hit Maryland and decided to stop at the Chesapeake House rest stop for gas, coffee, and a snack. Because holiday weekends bring out people who don’t often do these long drives and surely don’t know the rest stop etiquette, pulling off the road for a minute did not make me feel any better. I mean, who the hell leaves their car at the pump, goes inside the shop, and THEN pumps gas? Worse still, who the hell sits in her car while her husband goes into the shop for an outrageously long time and waits for him to come back so he can pump the gas? Fucking absurd.
Okay, back out on the road and hoping things might be better. But see, the fog situation in Maryland last night was pretty bad, which made the traffic pretty bad. Okay, just put on a good tune and hope that you get home, you know, today.
Then it happened.
In all the years I’ve been doing this drive, I’ve never had an accident. I think I had a flat once back in college when I was in the car with SSL, driving back to school. But that’s it. Generally, it’s a pretty uneventful drive. So my 14-year record was broken just like that.
Luckily, no one was hurt and the other car, an SUV, wasn’t damaged much, if at all. My car, on the other hand, was leaking water and was smashed in on the drivers’ side. Couldn’t drive it and needed a tow.
Great. This is going to be a long night.