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Saturday, May 22, 2004

Whirlwind Celebration 

As I briefly blogged last night, Evelin and I took a quick trip up to Massachusetts on Thursday for the wedding of some friends. K---, Evelin's old roommate and a long-time friend, has been in a Vermont-sanctioned civil union since 2001, but since the Vermont law that created civil unions explicitly states that while such unions do carry essentially the same rights and responsibilities of marriage, they are not recognized outside of the Vermont.

Therefore, as soon as K--- and T--- could apply for a marriage license on 17 May, they did. Three days later (the mandatory waiting period in Massachusetts) they and two other couples had a joint wedding ceremony on the steps of the old Town Hall in Easthampton.

It was a nice, simple ceremony, with about 60 people (friends, family, and a few curious passersby), but also a political statement covered by the local newspaper [registration required] and WWLP-TV from Springfield, which carried part of the ceremony live during the 5 o'clock news. In part it was a political statement (K--- and T--- consider the date of their civil union as their anniversary), but they have been together since 1998 and married in all but name since 2001, so it made sense to take advantage of the rights afforded to them as soon as the state recognized its responsibility to treat all citizens equally. That said, it sounds like their 2004 taxes are going to be a pain to file (especially since they both work in Connecticut and have to file taxes in that state, as well as Massachusetts and federal taxes).

Afterwards, about 30 of us went for dinner at The Brasserie 40-A in Northampton. It's been a while since I lived there, and its neat to see what all has changed and what remains the same.

On Friday, we went for breakfast at the Miss Florence Dinner and then walked around Northampton some more, and Evelin and I were on the road back to D.C. around noon.

While the trip up was nice (we left early and stopped at Evelin's sister's in New Jersey to visit with her and our niece and to wait out the end of the morning rush hour; we also got a bunch of baby clothes), the trip home was the single worst drive back that I've ever had. (And considering I spent nearly a year while Evelin and I were dating driving back and forth between Massachusetts and D.C. every other weekend, I think I've seen a lot of bad traffic on those roads.)

We lost about an hour a little after New Haven, Connecticut, because of an SUV rollover accident that closed the Merritt Parkway, then all the approaches through New York City were sounding backed up, so we swung north across the Tappan Zee Bridge. Which left us in more traffic on I-87/I-287.

I was starting to think we need to find a way to swing way west and take the long way through Pennsylvania, but Evelin talked me into less of a detour and the Turnpike. We took some backroads down to the Garden State, which was backing up almost as much as my frustration levels were rising. In the end, we just sat in a lot of traffic (by this time, it was the early afternoon rush out of the city that had us doomed) that eventually broke up down the turnpike. What should have been a six-hour or so drive turned into eight and a half hours.

Today, Evelin's been working in the garden, getting okra into the ground, harvesting the last of the spring spinach and pulling up the plants so there's room to plant bell peppers, and trying to convince me to finally take out the fig tree. I'm doing the laundry, but really I just want to hang around and be lazy to decompress from that drive.

Blogger Commenting:
FRANKLY, I think it was bad traffic, but it wasn't the worst ever. I've definitely been in worse (think: 4th of July weekend Friday trying to get through NYC ... without a navigator to help me through). Sure, we were in slow traffic over the Tappenzee, but we were moving. And the Garden State was a bear, but we got off pretty darn quickly and the turnpike was a breeze. And none of this would have happened if we hadn't gotten stuck on the Merrit on the way down b/c of the flipped SUV, but there was NO WAY to predict or avoid that by the time it happened. It wasn't even on 880 traffic until we got past it.

Sure, I slept through it all, but my dear husband repeatedly turned down my offers to drive.

Evelin
 
Okay, we have been on the NJTK at a dead stop, and I've had some bad drives on the CBE and the Deegan (including that time I bailed off the expressway into the Bronx just as a Hated Yankees game was ended), but this one was the worst because NOTHING helped. Every detour, backroad, etc., just made it worse. Yes the Turnpike cleared up after Newark (except for the slowdown at the merge), but the three hours in the NYC metro area made it bad, bad, bad.
 
That does sound like a bad trip home... traffic of any kind is not good. If you can bear it that's great, it helps on what kind of mind set you are in. If you expect as much as a "worse case" you can get through it though you are still not happy about it.

I can imagine hitting traffic like that on the way home from a trip over an hour can stress anyone especially when an hour long drive can double even triple in time.

Living in San Francisco, most of the time any trips involve crossing the "Bay Bridge", even on the weekends it gets pretty bad with traffic. It wasn't that bad even on commute days 5 or even 10 years ago.

I do believe though just one accident can cause a total mess and can cause a traffic delay of 30 minutes to hours. Even a non-accident as this one "Bay Bridge Jumper" caused such a havoc on a Friday, the busiest work day on the road, even at non-commute hours. This incident caused a 13-hour back up and delayed most people for at least 2 hours, on top of their normal commute time.

My sister's commute time of an hour (for a 30 minute drive time) took her 3 1/2 hours. It's understandable that knowing you have a trip home that is a few hours long and you get caught up in bad traffic it is frustrating.

I am sorry about the trip home, but I am sure after getting home and taking back the reason of the trip and all the events, that the events far outweighs the snafu on the way home.

Rhye
Just Around The Bend
 
Thanks, Rhye, and you're right: the traffic didn't negate the value of the trip in any way. But if I'd know traffic was going to be that bad, I would have definately pushed for the "western scenario" drive ...
 
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