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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Drive Slow Homie, You Never Know Homie...

This week I am on-site at a nutritional products plant in Middle of Nowhere, New Jersey.  Our company did the programming for this plant's processes and I'm here for the startup, mostly to learn because the hardest aspect of my job is generally troubleshooting.  I am staying in a hotel in town and so I thought I'd discuss a little bit about long drives and commuting.  But first, what I wore for my first day as an on-site contractor -


Sweater: J. Crew // Denim Shirt: Gap  // Black Skinny Pants:  Vince // 
Bag: Balenciaga RH City // Shoes: Red Wings Steel-Toed Safety shoes, c/o my company //
Not Pictured:  Hard had and safety glasses (really the best parts)

Now, driving.  I do a lot of driving.  A tremendous amount really.  My work is 45 miles away, my boyfriend is 45 miles away, and my favorite malls are 40+ miles away.  I don't like to think about the tolls I am paying, so instead I focus on the brutality of the commute.

There are a few major questions I had when I started commuting.  

1) Why does the left lane always come to a complete stop while the other lanes keep moving?

The people in the left lane are there to be in the fast lane.  Now, let's forget for a second that no one else is moving because it's jam packed and focus on the fact that these people have places to be and their time is more important than yours.  As a result of these incredibly important things they have to do (I imagine they are all emergency room doctors), they are tailgating the absolute shit out of you.  You can't even see the hood of their car anymore in your rearview mirror.  You are able to gesture to them that they have something in their teeth.  So you slow down because the people in front of you slow down, but because these people are so close to you this slowing down results in them needing to come to a complete stop.  Now imagine this happening 100 times down the NJ Turnpike and you have a whole lot of people coming to a full stop, which means the people behind them have to as well, and the people behind them and so on and so forth.  How can you avoid this, you ask?  You can't, so enjoy.

2) Why is the left lane always the slower lane when crossing a bridge?

 Ah, bridges.  Those strange confined spaces where cars and trucks disproportionately tend to break down, trapping everyone else for hours while tow trucks try and figure out what on earth to do.  The left lane in general is the fast line, or so they say, but on bridges, it also happens to be the furthest away from the scary water lane.  This means people not used to driving on bridges will stick to the left and go as slow as possible because they drive over bridges the way they drive in Mario Kart, overcorrecting constantly and apparently unable to keep their hands from moving the wheel side to side.  They also will not pass the truck in front of them because that truck is a mere 6 inches from the center lane marker and it just feels too close.  Get in the right lane.  By the way this is actually how my mom drives while playing Mario Kart, as soon as the race starts she's suddenly unable to keep her hands from moving wildly and keep her car from alternately bouncing into the left and right barriers.  It's bizarre.

3) Why does everything suddenly clear up at the same spot all the time?

I'm working on this one.  Frankly, it defies the laws of physics and human behavior so I hope a research university gets in on this soon.

4) Does that asshole weaving in and out really get anywhere faster?

Yes, they do.  They arrive at their destination a whole 20 seconds earlier and have the added bonus of everyone they've passed knowing they are an asshole, so weave in and out at your own risk.

My commute this evening from the plant to the hotel (including stopping at a drugstore in between for toothpaste) was a whole 8 (EIGHT) minutes.  I even had time to get lost in the middle of nowhere and try and find deer and then find a restaurant to sit at and eat some steak joined only by a Ketel club and a crippling sense of loneliness.  At least I didn't hit traffic though!


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