Category Archives: New Jersey

Ms. Frizzle, The Slacker

Now that I live on the edge of the Earth (OK, exaggeratory. But it feels like it), I endure an almost 2 hour door to door commute each day. 15-20 minutes in the car, 10-15 minutes in the park and ride lot waiting for the bus, about 1 hour on the bus, and 15-20 minutes in the subway. In order to guarantee I can park my car in the lot and not at the A&P a mile down the road, I leave the house around 5:35 am, catch the 6 am express to Port Authority and arrive at work by 7:25 am at the latest. While this commute is not all bad all the time, there are some very definite downsides to being up and arriving to work so early.

1. I have to shower at night. I guess I don’t HAVE to, but I’m not getting up any earlier than I already do, so the night shower wins out. While some people actually prefer this, I am not one of those people. When done in the evening, showering feels like a chore instead of a nice fresh start to the day. Even though I know I’m clean, it doesn’t FEEL like I am as clean as I COULD be. On days(nights) when I wash my hair, I go to bed with a wet head, which doesn’t quite work for us curly haired ladies (flat on this side, puffy on that side). As a result, I have been wearing a lot of ponytails and buns. Boring! And while we are on the subject of my hair…

2. On the days I do get it to look decent, my hair is inevitably ruined by an hour leaned against a weird bus seat. Think further flattened curls, fuzzy ponytails and frizzy ends. Picture the Magic School Bus’s Ms. Frizzle, just with brown hair, a coach bus and a normally printed dress…Uy. Plus, I’m short and the weird angle of the headrest makes my neck hurt.

3. I am existing in a permanent state of hunger. Getting up at 5 am means I’m famished by 8 am. Eating breakfast at 8 am means I am starving, again, by 11 am. 11 am is TOO early to eat lunch, especially because I have always liked to eat lunch late to help break up the day. So, I can manage to push lunch to 12 noon, but then I start rumbling on the bus ride home. Once I finally get home, I can’t do anything until I eat. This full stomach means no workout, which is obviously leading nowhere pretty. Having eaten so early in the evening, I am, again, ridiculously hungry the next morning. It’s a vicious cycle, you see!

4. I look like a slacker at work. Not just because I am always daydreaming about a far away place or quickly googling a country I might visit, but because my “late afternoon lull” comes before my co-workers’. While normal people start to slack off around 3:30 or 4 and just try to make it to the end of the day, I hit the point of diminishing returns around 2pm, when everyone else is still going strong. Clearly, I am at work working while they are probably still sleeping, but I’m sure they don’t take that into account when I start getting up to walk around and randomly clicking things in my email or on Facebook.

5. I am too tired, way too early at night. If you want to get in touch with me via phone, you have a maximum of one hour after your free minutes kick in before all hope is lost. Once I get into bed, even if I am just watching a movie, I am not answering my phone for nothing. This makes keeping up with friends tough, especially because they aren’t trying to talk to me at 6:30 am when I am awake and unoccupied. Also, feeling genuinely tired at 9:30 pm makes me feel old and I don’t like it.

Bottom line: I am constantly looking crazy, feeling crazy (hungry) and/or acting crazy these days. Remind me of why am I doing this to myself again? Oh, right- It better be worth it!

Side note: I have recently created a Facebook page as a companion to this blog where I post pictures and other travel and world culture related stuff. Check it out: facebook.com/solejourner. If you “like” feel free to share!

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In The Wilds of New Jersey

Alone in the car, on my now regular morning commute, I busted out laughing. I had one of those moments where I separated from myself and looked in on my life as an observer, and couldn’t keep it in!

It’s 5:35 am and I am making my way from the house to the bus stop, 15 minutes worth of windy country streets and 5 highway exits away. High beams are on (no street lights where I’m living now), there is a mysterious Scooby-Doo like fog and I am trying not to hit the hoards of deer that are eating their breakfast on all sides of me and at every turn. As I try to maneuver the boat (Chevy Tahoe) that is my generously lent vehicle for the time being, I lose it. Haha! Never would have predicted this would be me!

Not so very long ago I was doing my thing in the tall building having, people everywhere going, public transportation riding city, and loving it.  Today, I am flying an airplane to work at 5 o’clock in the morning, it is dark in a way that  city dwellers wouldn’t understand, and there are animals EVERYWHERE! This week alone I had to slow down to avoid a raccoon and freaked out because I almost ran over a chipmunk and then a frog.  Not that I would have felt it driving this monster truck anyway…

This new life couldn’t be more different from my old one in every way, and I cannot get over the fact that in a moment of bravery I decided to just make the change, and go for something new! No one forced me, or even proposed the idea to me, it was my brilliant thinking alone. Ha! But, at this point, I wouldn’t take it back.

I am still feeling out this new country lifestyle, trying to get used to driving everywhere, planning ahead for everything and waking up at 5 am, but I’m glad I made the move. I decided I wanted to try to save up enough money to make my dream of long-term travel a reality, and I put myself out there to really work toward making it happen. I hope to be hearing ‘Bon Voyage’ soon enough, but even if things don’t work out the way I hoped, at least I will always be able to laugh at myself trying to make it in the wilds of New Jersey.