Sunday, August 26, 2012

Patience, Joe, & NYC Traffic

I'm not quite sure what came over me, but I made a very bad driving decision today. With all of the driving I do - both for work and for pleasure, I should have known better. My sister, the little guy, and I had gone to the Mets v. Astros game (where FINALLY the Mets won) and we were on our way from the game to the vacation house we would be sharing with our family.

There was heavier than normal traffic on my regular route home from the game so at the last minute I decided to follow the GPS directions onto the Williamsburg Bridge and over to the Holland Tunnel. I think I can say with no hyperbole that I have NEVER made a worse decision on the road. It took us just shy of three hours to get through Lower Manhattan and to the other side of the Holland Tunnel (where, of course, the roads were as clear as could be). I venture to say that outside of maybe your wedding day there is no worse time to be stuck in traffic like that than on the first day of a much-anticipated vacation. We finally made it to our vacation spot at just after 2am.

While I am relieved to be here and wish we could have arrived earlier, I had a special "Joe moment" on our crawl through Lower Manhattan and I wouldn't trade that for an extra 24 hours of vacation let alone an extra 3.

It happened just at the moment I had reached my breaking point. If you know me in real life, then you probably know that patience has never been one of my strengths. It's one of the ways that Joe helped make me a better person because he was the most patient person I've ever known. He had a way of inspiring patience in me through his own exercise of it and as our relationship grew so did my ability to be more patient and gracious in various situations. Over the past 8 1/2 months, I've missed his gentle presence encouraging me to take it easy and be more patient.

Today, as I reached my NYC traffic breaking point, some familiar chords came over 104.3, the New York rock station. It was Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, a song which had been to us the end of The Sopranos before it became a mantra during Joe's illness and then the song that always pops up when I'm feeling low or missing him deeply. The tears started before the lyrics even did.

Then, I looked to the side and noticed that we just HAPPENED to be stopped in front of The Bowery Ballroom. Let me repeat, IN FRONT OF THE BOWERY BALLROOM (if you don't already know, see my post about The Afghan Whigs reunion show in May for the importance to us of this venue).

At this realization, I thanked Joe for giving me another dose of patience and started mentally counting my blessings. The biggest one? I was "stuck" in the car with my sister who lives 1,000 plus miles away. We literally had 10 hours of together time in that car and I'm so glad we did. While I still had frustration with the traffic, it was a much more pleasant experience after Joe's "touch". I won't forget how we jammed out to Call Me Maybe once we escaped the Tunnel or how we marveled at the engineering (and the length) of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel or how we raced each other to be the first to "check-in" to new places on foursquare.

I think Joe would have been proud of me today and I know he must be happy that the Mets finally won again. As a life long Mets fan, maybe that's where he perfected his virtue of patience.

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