Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Road Well Travelled - Pt. 1 - The View From Here.

It always takes a bit of mental preparation to make this trip. There is this transition that needs to be made that the road affords the time to make. Flying is more brash. One minute I'm in my familiar element, then an hour later, BOOM! I'm slammed down into a maelstrom of humanity, all hell bent on getting to where they need to be faster than me. Driving allows me to adjust, to cope, and to be put into the right frame of mind.

Who thought that the simple act of going home would ever be so complex?

I hit the road on I-390 south towards Corning at 9:30 in the AM, stopping first by Tim Horton's to pick up a bite to eat and a large coffee. (Tim Horton's is a Canadian doughnut/sandwich outlet, like Dunkin', only better, imho.) Large coffee is needed for this first part of the journey. I always marvel at the beauty of this part of the state. No large mountains, like in the Adirondacks, but the rolling hills and farmland are quite stunning.

Suddenly, off to my left about 1/4 to 1/2 of the way to Corning, this comes over the horizon, and I am struck by how it stands out from the tranquility that surrounds it:
A wind farm! I heard about this on the news, but didn't realize how close to the highway it was. I am not sure what to think about this. it is great that there is an alternate energy source being built there, but, there is also something disturbing about having these man-made monstrosities defiling what I view as a very beautiful landscape. Is this trade-off worth it? I suppose when they come on-line, which they are not currently, we'll find out.

Transitioning onto I-86 (NY 17), I breezed through Corning, home of the Corning Museum of Glass, a requisite trip for anyone within a hundred miles of it. Binghamton is my goal, where I can gas up, get some more coffee and continue on. I make it there about noon, and call my friend Sherri, who I grew up with. She lives in Pine Bush, about 90 min. further east in the Catskills. We're going to meet for lunch, and she is a prospective topic for an article, as she is a three-time thyroid cancer survivor. We meet at a nearby diner, with her 11 year-old daughter in tow. She is okay about talking in front of her about her experience, and we also catch up on things, and the doings of some mutual friends. She is quite the fighter. She is also damned lucky, as the type of thyroid cancer she had was the treatable variety.

With my car fueled up and now my body, I start the final leg home. I'm tuning the radio to the two all news, AM stations for NYC and the region. Old habit. Traffic is an all consuming passion with New Yorkers, and with good reason, as it sucks most days. So far, so good, as there are no reports of anything that is in my path. Of course, that could all change in a NY minute.

I make it down to my mother's at about 5 PM, and then starts the great parking spot hunt. Remember the one "Seinfeld" episode dedicated to discussion of parking? Well, that is about as accurate as it gets. Parking in NYC is an art form, a game, and a battle to the death all at once. after about 15 minutes of circling the block in a game of musical cars, I get lucky, and dive into a spot that another person was eying. You snooze, you lose buddy. Better luck next time. It is a little bit of a walk to the building, but it is mine all mine. I drag my suitcase and laptop into the elevator to the 24th floor, and knock on my mom's apartment door. I am greeted with a loving smile, and a typical NYC salutation:

"Did you get a good spot?"

Thanks ma, I love you too.

To be continued...


Bina said...

Sounds like a great trip so far, and your mother is so funny, but I'm guessing you are NOT kidding about the greeting, huh?

Mr. Nighttime said...

Bina - If only I were kidding. ;-)

Dragonfly Dreaming said...

I love your Mom already!!!! :) Is it wrong that I am thrilled you are home??! ;)

Jay said...

'Did you get a good spot?' LOL!

You know, we have several wind farms around here, because the fens are flat and very suitable for harnessing wind energy. I actually find the turbines very beautiful, and the fens not at all beautiful, so for me they enhance the landscape. People who live close to them say they are noisy, though.

I'd certainly rather have them than overhead wires and pylons, or nuclear power stations. ;)

doggybloggy said...

I will check back...your comment on dragonfly dreams about NY made me stop in....I am a transplant with my outsider views but I was married to a woman from Queens who now lives in Scottsdale,Arizona.

Andie said...

I stopped by from Claudia...lurked by once before...

That's a Momma for ya....don't ya just love that feeling?

Mr. Nighttime said...

Claudia - It is never wrong when I can thrill you. ;-)

Jay - I hear what you are saying, but I still think the jury is still out as to just how viable and long term this energy solution is. I think we need to do better. Yeah, my mom is a typical Brooklyn broad...(and I mean that in a nice way.)

doggy - So you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about! How has the adjustment been for you? Thanks for stopping in!

Andie - Thanks for coming by. Yeah, she is a typical Jewish mother though. I went out late one night I was there, and she was up waiting for me. Her cup of guilt doth overflow. ;-)

Peter said...

Thanks for sharing this very pleasant "on the road back home" account.

Your mother's "Did you get a good spot?" made me smile: even though Antwerp only has a pop of 500,000 the parking is just a bad, if not worse, given this town was never built for cars at all.

Anonymous said...

I was just reading your blog on your trip to NYC, and I must say that I was rather moved by what you shared. I also have to face certain things from my past as well, and sooner than I'd like. My 15 year High School reunion is this November, and let's just see what I have not accomplished in my life. Well first and formost is that I did not go to college like I should have, so there in lies th fact that I am poor. Next comes the fact that I am not as skinny as I used to be, by a long shot. Yes I like my job, but it is not as high society as some of the people I went high School with have obtained.
I too got bullied and made fun of a lot in school, and yes I may not have to travel 6 plus hours to get back home, but the 45 minute to hour ride back to West Irondequiot in Monroe County is going to be the longest ride due to the fact that I will be seeing people I have not been around on a day to day basis in the past 15years.
I also realize or notice is the better way to say it I guess, the difference in us New Yorkers that are from this part of the state versus the ones from any of the five burroughs of NYC. Maybe I am paranoid, but it seems as though we are looked down apon up here, as though we are not "True" New Yorkers...However my outlook on it yes this part of NY and it's history is "Newer" than that of NYC which was the first portion to get established. But we are all he same in my mind, just certain aspects of us set us apart from others.
I do plan to visit NYC at some point in the future, and i hope to have enough time on my hands to get a real good taste of the city. I just hope i don't get to severely chastised for the way I say R-A-chester ( Rochester), if asked what part of NY I am from....all for now.