As I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, I am originally from New York. Since I only live a few hours away, and the majority of my family still lives up there, I visit as frequently as my budget will allow (or when there’s a birthday party, family get-together, my grandmother is visiting from Florida or any other time I’m pretty much required to be there). This past weekend was no exception. I went to visit for two reasons: one, one of my surrogate little brothers (I have 3…long story) got married and two, my oldest friend is moving to Portland, Oregon and I wanted to say goodbye.
I managed to survive the trip, financially speaking, due to the generosity of others and some creative budgeting. And this trip was yet another reminder of why I haven’t moved back up there. It is so freaking expensive. But that’s not news, and it’s not really worth lamenting about. However…
There were some other lessons I learned this weekend, and many of them revolve around money. Some, not so much, but totally worth sharing:
- Google Maps is an asshole. The wedding was at a country club in a town that I had been to once. In high school. On a bus. And I am directionally challenged. Given that, I really relied on the directions that Google Maps provided. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn’t care that I don’t know where I am or how to find work-arounds when it sends me down a street that ends abruptly with a “Do Not Enter” sign. Thanks. That helps so much. The worst part was that, just yonder, beyond the sign, was the freaking road I needed. It took 20 more minutes, driving in 9 circles with a drunk passenger and a “fuck you, Google Maps” before I found my way out of the neighborhood I was stuck in. And then I went the wrong way trying to find the highway I needed. So that was fun.
- EZ Pass? Also an asshole. With all the travelling we do to New York and to my in-laws’, EZ Pass just made more sense. And, for a while, it was wonderful. Now? Not so much. The EZ Pass lines (the non-express ones) sometimes take just as long as the cash lines and honestly, EZ pass isn’t so easy when the transponder doesn’t work. For some reason that I can’t explain, we can use it just fine in every state except the one where we live. That’s right. Whenever we try to use it on a toll in Delaware, it doesn’t register, meaning we get a lovely little violation in the mail. But what’s also fantastic is that it does remember to take out money when the balance is low, and it conveniently takes out more money that it’s supposed to (or I expect it to). Thanks for the warnings.
- New York never ceases to be weird. When we were in the city on Sunday, we expected to see some things that were a bit out of the ordinary. Especially knowing we were in Greenwich Village and Central Park (and travelled by subway). However, we were totally not prepared for witnessing a real, live action Quidditch match nor were we prepared for the photo shoot of the man dressed up as an old time court jester, pretending to be dead. On the ground. In Central Park. It was a bit disconcerting but truly awesome at the same time. Oh, here’s proof (although my camera work is a bit shoddy):
- The Nassau County PD will, in fact, leave you alone if they see someone throwing up, out of the car door, on the side of the Southern State Parkway. I won’t go into specific details about how I came to learn this so as not to embarrass the affected party, but let’s just say that someone I know will eat a little bit more and drink a little bit less at the next wedding she attends. And I swear on all that is holy that the person in question is not me. I was driving, remember?
- It doesn’t matter what time of day you leave Long Island. There will always be traffic. In every direction you attempt to go. Long ago, I gave up on ever getting through Brooklyn in under two hours (yes, let’s add the Belt Parkway to the asshole list). One day, I drove a different way, through the Bronx and miraculously, it not only took less time but it was overall less expensive because even with the extra money spent on the New Jersey Turnpike, it still costs less than the Verrazano Bridge. Super, right? Now, not so much. It may cheaper but the whole quicker thing? A big, fat, giant lie. Especially on a night with a Yankee game. At home. Another reason I hate the Yankees.
- Begging at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike will probably not be the most lucrative. Due to the fact that my child has to use the bathroom at the most inconvenient times, we always make sure to stop at least once for her to do whatever it is she thinks she doesn’t need to do. Our stops are typically uneventful and fast. This time, we were approached by a very…intoxicated young lady, who approached our car rather brazenly, and came complete with a giant Starbucks coffee and sob story about how her debit card was broken, she was 117 miles from home and no cash and could we please help her out. Um, no. Please move on to another car. I really wanted to ask her how stupid she thought we were. But I don’t think she would have understood the question.
I have to go back up to visit in another month. I really don’t think I can handle another weekend like the one I just had. Unless I get invited to play in that Quidditch match. That could be fun.