Most of you know that my partner, Ed, lives in Rhode Island. (Yes, it's a long distance relationship...but at least he doesn't live in California.) Usually, I fly Southwest to Providence (technically, we fly into Warwick) and it's a quick trip. However, I couldn't get a flight for less than $375 this year, so I decided to drive. (Yeah...I only saved $45 bucks, but I got the times I wanted and did exactly as I pleased...and it was glorious.)
I've never driven it. NEVER. And we've been together over four years now. It was fantastic! I had a ball driving! I'd never been on the New Jersey Turnpike. The furthest north I've ever driven is Delaware, and that was an accident (wrong turn in Baltimore for work...long story). I set out on Sunday around 2:00 in the afternoon. I decided that I'd stay overnight in Delaware (mainly because I knew where it was), so I got a hotel in Newark, Delaware, and stayed there for the night. I set out around 9am the next morning, and drove north. I mislicked and went through Philadelphia, but I got out fast so I could get on the Turnpike...and let me tell you...I ended up having to do the one thing I hate.
See...I have a paralyzing fear of heights. And, for those of you who don't know, the only thing between here and Providence is RIVERS...lots and lots of rivers. And guess what crosses those rivers? VERY HIGH BRIDGES. I white knuckled it across one in Philadelphia, and that's when I decided to hit the Turnpike.
I had a great time sightseeing, though. The best part for me was when I hit the edge of New Jersey where you can see across into Manhattan. I knew exactly where I was. Wondering how? Every single landmark has been referenced at some point or another on Law and Order or Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Now you may laugh.
Driving through NYC was a challenge because you s l o w d o w n so much. And apparently, Connecticut is the longest state in the union. Good LORD it took me forever to get through it! (And all I could see in my head was Tony Danza driving up in someone's driveway in a beat up blue van, jumping out to vacuum. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you missed the 80's.) Finally, I hit the Rhode Island state line...and I knew I was home free...except for one problem. Their exits don't match the mile markers like ours do. Eighty four hours more to go...
I got to Providence, and fortunately, I know my way around pretty well. When Ed works at the bar or has long translating assignments, I borrow his mom's car and go wherever I want to go. I like that. I liked being able to drive my own even more! So, I rolled on up to the Providence Place Mall where he works, and waited for him. He came out of the party office, and looked at me (not unlike Will does sometimes...with a look of sleepy bewilderment) and said, "What are you doing here?" I said, "Well hello to you too." He said, "What are you doing here?" I said, "Can I get a little excitement?" He said, "What are you doing here?" I guess that's what happens after four hours of sleep.
I had a great - and somewhat restful Thanksgiving. Although, you'd think I'd learn that I can never take a real vacation. If I put something off (such as preparing the maps, etc., for the Holiday Lights Tour, or writing e-mails to go out when I get home to candidates for National Board Certification), then it catches up to me and I have to work late. Oh well. I slept a lot. A LOT. It was great. Thanksgiving was awesome, too! Ed's brother's fiance (how Southern does that sound?) and her parents make Thanksgiving dinner, and we all meet there and eat. It's awesome, and her parents are wonderful.
On Friday morning after Thanksgiving, I loaded my car up with all the stuff I've bought and left over the past four After-Christmas sales, and headed south. I made it to Franklinton in just under ten hours - and that's with two stops for food, and one for gas.
I really do enjoy long drives by myself. I can zone out, not be around anyone and have to think...and oddly, that's when I do my best thinking. Thank goodness for the Voice Memo function on my phone!