Commuter Musings

I’m beginning to think it’s impossible for me to be late.

(Side note: I have an eerie feeling I’ve started a post like that before…ugh, after three years, it’s so hard to be original.)(I searched in my blog and couldn’t find that sentence. So maybe not?)(Still feeling uneasy…)

Anyway. Earlier this week, I made the decision to stop getting to work so early. Not that I planned on being late by any means, but I don’t really have to get there 45 minutes early. I’m not going to go into my reasons for doing that because I’ve already explained it, but the fact is, it’s not a crucial part of my life.

So this week, my goal was to get to work…exactly on time.

All together now: GASP!!!

I know, you guys. I. Know.

So I set my alarm a full twenty minutes later than I normally do. And guess what?

I got to work only about fifteen minutes later than I usually do. And that’s after stopping for coffee.

It makes NO sense. I’m 90% sure I’m jumping through a wormhole on my way to work.

(Side note, numero deux: Does anyone else watch the Cash Cab? Don’t lie, you know you do. Last night, Joey and I watched, like, three episodes in a row, and one of the questions was describing a wormhole, and I got it right. …that’s the whole story. Yikes.)

But on the upside, apparently really successful people tend to be early risers. I feel like that has to bode well for me.

Lesson learned: I may be a freak, but so is the CEO of Apple.

In other news, the longest week ever is finally coming to a close. (What, no one else felt like this week just dragged? I’m dying over here.) Hope you folks have a great weekend!

Quick business note (NOT a side note…too many of those already): I’m busy scheduling all of my upcoming blog giveaways for 2012. I already have the next two months booked, but if you run an Etsy shop or any other business that you would like to promote here through a giveaway, email me at justine.lorelle [at] for more information. I’d love to work with you! This now ends this business note.

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you!

Benny is baaaaaaaaack. And Bernardo is history.

And the world is a better place for it.

I’ve been trying really hard not to complain as much on here. I mean, in the long run, I’ve got things pretty great.

But can I just whine about something for a teeny, tiny minute?

Ok, so we all know that my commute is much better than it used to be. The whole shebang has been cut down from almost two hours each way to more like 45 minutes each way. It’s not like I’m teleporting (YET), but it’s definitely a time saver. Plus, I’m not paying exorbitant fees to be crammed into a tin can with Everything That Is Wrong With The World. Sure, I have to pay more attention and the chances that I’ll get in a car accident have increased exponentially, but all in all, it’s a more comfortable ride.

It is not, however, perfect.

This morning I actually narrowed down the one thing that makes me the most anxious about driving: merging.

Oh lawdy, do I hate merging. Especially here, where drivers are just generally insane.

When I first started driving, I was actually extremely paranoid about it, and I always made sure that I was just in the lane I needed to be in at all times. If I knew I would be turning left, you can bet I was in the left lane from start to finish, regardless if the right lane was moving quicker or not.

As I got more comfortable with driving, I also got a little more comfortable with changing lanes, though it is still my natural inclination to just get in the lane I need to be in no matter how far I have left to go on the road I’m currently on.

Of course, there is a big difference between highways in Iowa and highways here. I’m probably going to get crap for this, but I’m just going to say it: People in Long Island are terrible drivers.

There, I said it.

I’m dead serious. In Iowa, everyone is so polite. They signal. They let you into their lane. They obey traffic laws.

Here? Not so much.

Everyone thinks their own agenda is so much more important than yours. They speed. They swerve into your lane unexpectedly. They pretend they don’t see you signaling because GODFORBID they be delayed for the three seconds it would take to let you merge. In general, they suck.

So anyway, what all of that leads me to is the most stressful part of my commute, which is where I have to merge onto an off-ramp to get onto a different highway. It is always ridiculously congested, and it requires you to be that guy if you want to get in. Not sure what I mean by that guy? I’m just going to let this illustration explain:

Ok, so we all agree that we HATEHATEHATE when someone does that, right? Like, actually want-to-shake-them-violently hate them, right?

Well, here’s my dilemma. You HAVE to be that guy to get into this lane. I always try to lessen the blow by not waiting until I’m all the way at the front of the line to cut in, but you still have this moment where you have to just pick the car you are basically going to cut in front of, and even though I know it’s all in my head, I always feel so awkward doing it. (And thus ends the longest, guiltiest sentence ever.)

I mean, one minute I’m floating out there in my lane, the next minute I’m all, “I choose you!” and darting in front of them, hoping they’re not one of those jerks who keeps facing forward and being all like, “Nope, just me out here in traffic! I certainly don’t see anyone to my left trying to get in my lane! Just accelerating for no reason! Yup, yup, YUP!” (Wait, no, THAT was the longest sentence ever.)

I know you see me. You know I know you see me. I know you know that if you were in my position, you would hate me for pretending not to see you. Ergo, I don’t like you.

Anyway, after I finally get on the off-ramp, the commute is basically over. I take a few deep breaths, congratulate myself on remaining somewhat calm, and proceed to work.


Except when someone decides to actually be that guy in the above illustration and dart in front of me right before the off-ramp ends. Way to be that guy even more than I was that guy.

I try not to actually get irritated about it. I try to remember when I was the person who just needed to get onto the off-ramp, and how stressful that was. But mostly I just succeed in lowering my irritation from full-blown road rage to silently stewing and shooting withering stares at the rude driver.

Add onto all that my new-found paranoia about getting rear-ended again, and I’m pretty sure my blood pressure rises a few notches every time I approach that exit.

Le sigh.

So anyway, that’s all I wanted to complain about today.

In happier news, Benny should come home today! Plus, we’re FINALLY getting the credenza/china cabinet on Friday. So this weekend will be a put-together-the-dining-room weekend. Plus-PLUS we’re going to a hockey game and have plans on Sunday. All good things.

There. Being positive makes up for the whining, right?

Well today is certainly shaping up to be a nice one. (And it’s only 8:30 in the morning!)

First, I’m having a decent hair day. Always a good way to start.

Next, it’s Friday, so the commute to work was as easy as it gets all week.

Third, it’s not just any Friday, it’s a JUST GOT PAID Friday! Woo hoo!

Fourth, despite being so well off financially (suuuure…let’s go with that), I still appreciate any experience where I get things for free. Even better when I win something.

And guess what?!?

Apparently the Starbucks near my work is doing some promotion for the holidays where every time their coffee timer goes off (it’s the timer that tells you it’s time to empty the big coffee pot and replace it with fresh brew…it goes off every two hours..I used to work at Starbucks), the person at the register gets their drink for free. And GUESS who happened to be there right when the timer went off?

It’s me, you guys!

I admit it was a bit startling because the barista rang this giant silver bell when it happened, but after I got over the initial shock, I made my smug way to the counter to accept my free beverage. (You know your life is on the up-and-up when all it takes to make you smug is someone handing you a free latte…lord…)

Plus, Fridays in general get me in a good mood. Plus, I’m going to hit up HomeGoods tonight, for the first time ever, and I hear it will change my life. PLUS, we get a new piece of furniture tomorrow. Plus-PLUS, I will hopefully be getting my dear Benny back soon.

All good things, people.

Hopefully everyone has as great a day as I’m having (for going on two hours now…). Any fun weekend plans?

So, Benny is in the shop finally getting fixed. Poor, brave soul. I miss him terribly.

Currently, I’m carting myself around in a rental. It’s ok. JUST ok.

Actually, I kind of hate him. I’ve named him Bernardo. He’s Benny’s evil, ambiguously Latino twin brother:

Let’s talk about why is in infinitely insuperior to Benny. First, he is just not in that great of shape. (Benny is a Greek god.)

One of the side mirrors has a crack in it, everything is dusty, a few things have suspicious looking sticky marks on them. You just feel a little dirtier sitting in Bernardo.

Secondly, he smells vaguely of cherries. Or some other cloyingly sweet fruity smell. It’s nauseating. And I’m pretty sure my hair soaked it up. Vom.

Third, his speakers are BUSTED. They work fine at first, but after about half an hour of tunes, suddenly the music starts cutting out every five seconds. EVERY. FIVE. SECONDS.

It’s maddening. Weirdly enough, the cut out noise that happens (it’s like a dull thump in the speaker) continues to happen for a while after you’ve shut off the car.

Which leads me to my fourth point: Bernardo is haunted.

Fortunately, the real Benny should be back in our lives in only a day or two.

So we can send Bernardo back to the black abyss from whence he came!

This morning I discovered* a Starbucks less than a mile from my office. This is a good and bad.

Bad because I now know where it is and will have to restrain myself regularly.

Good because a day started off with a grande non-fat latte and a gingerbread biscotti is the best kind of day.

Plus, I unloacked a badge for going to 15 different coffee shops on Foursquare. I’m not even going to pretend that doesn’t thrill me.

I’m not really a coffee snob. Similar to my relationship with wine, I can’t really tell the difference between the “good” stuff and the bad. All I know is if I like it or don’t like it.

Usually I’ll hit up McDonald’s for my morning fix (of coffee…not wine…I’m not an alcoholic), but their lattes definitely vear toward the bitter. Dunkin has a decent latte, but it doesn’t quite pack the punch of Starbucks. (At least in my mind.)

Honestly, I make coffee really strong, so as long as I have milk or creamer in the house, I’m just as well off making my own. However, we really need to go grocery shopping…so here we are.

Any true coffee snobs out there care to argue my analysis?

*I never really discover things.