A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To….The Hospital?

January 30, 2014 in Finish-The-Sentence Friday,Hospital Tales

Numbered highways in the United States

Numbered highways in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Little Dude and I drive back and forth to the hospital anywhere from two to three times a week. According to our GPS, the hospital is 7.9 miles away from our house. That should mean a ten to fifteen minute drive max, right? Well, if we lived in rural Kentucky it might mean that, but we are traveling to the Bronx from Westchester County in New York. For those of you not familiar with the Bronx, the easiest way I can explain it is this: The Bronx* is a borough of Manhattan where people with legal driver’s licenses operate motor vehicles as if they just finished driver’s ed and already forgot the rules of the road. Straddling lanes, illegal u-turns, and not signaling before turning are just a few of the skills a Bronx driver boasts. Although the drivers themselves don’t really affect our commuting time, if you add their questionable driving to the horrendous morning Bronx traffic, you’ve got yourself a 30-minute drive plus a bad case of road rage.

Little Dude is used to my verbal rants by now. I have entire conversations with other drivers, lecturing them on their inability to follow the traffic signals and to just DRIVE when the light turns green. Our hospital visits usually occur on Mondays and Thursdays and sometimes Tuesdays. I am particularly tense on Thursday mornings because we are almost always running late and the doctors hold shorter hours that morning from 7-9am. If you’re not there by 8:15, 8:30 the latest, and you factor in the lab work waiting time, the doctors are likely long gone and that means you’ve got to come back at 1pm later that day. I’ll do anything for my kid, but two trips to the Bronx in one day is not high on my list.

To be honest, we don’t actually hit any traffic until we are about ten blocks away from the hospital. We generally coast down I95, exit onto Bartow Road and then turn right on to Gun Hill Road (don’t let the name scare you, although since this is the Bronx, I’m thinking that Gun Hill has some serious meaning I don’t want to know about). It’s smooth sailing down Gun Hill until we reach the intersection before the Bronx River parkway entrances and exits.


And I mean it’s barely moving, stuck in one place, terrible, horrible, no good very bad day gridlock (sorry Alexander, but I had to steal your line).

If it weren’t 8 o’clock in the morning, I’d be tempted to illegally drink and drive just to calm myself down.

Little Dude knows this is the point to brace himself for my hysterics.

“Are we hitting the traffic now mom?” he asks, already knowing the answer.

“Yes sweetie, we are and mommy is going to lose her friggin’ mind. I knew we should have left the house earlier,” I complain, hoping I don’t sound like I’m blaming him.

“Well, you took so long getting ready mom,” he says as a partial defense.

I realized that he did feel blamed and that made me feel like a crappy mom. Although that still didn’t stop me from my never-ending and irrational need to be right.

“Well, you took a long time eating your breakfast,” I countered, feeling even crappier for continuing to blame.

“Well, we’re not going to get there any faster if you keep going crazy like this, mom.”

Epiphany moment. Brought on by my 10-year old son.

“You’re right bud. Mommy is being an idiot.”

So yeah, a funny thing happened on the way to the hospital that day:  I learned a valuable lesson from my Little Dude, which was this:

No amount of screaming and road rage will get you to your destination any faster.

So from now on, whenever Little Dude asks if we’ve hit that inevitable Bronx traffic, I say something optimistic along the lines of, “why yes, yes we have. But, that’s okay because I know we’ll get there eventually.” And then I  tightly grip the steering wheel, turn up the radio a bit and start singing because I know it’s the only way I can make it there without  having another hissy fit.

* NOTE: I have nothing against people from the Bronx. My mother was born and raised in the Bronx and had the mouth of a sailor to prove it. I’m proud to say I’ve inherited her feisty Bronx genes, which have definitely come in handy during my weekly drives there.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerri January 30, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Oh I hear you my friend. When I drive Boo into CHB I can leave three freaking hours early and still get caught on Mass freaking Ave. Thankfully she is oblivious to my rants. But I feel you. I seriously feel you. To deal with illness sucks. To deal with gridlock because people are freaking idiots? Thats inhumane.
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ohboymom January 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Ha – totally agree. I just can’t figure out why all the bad drivers are in the Bronx!


Janine Huldie January 30, 2014 at 10:23 pm

I totally know exactly what you mean about the Bronx. My grandfather and his family were all from there and still have two aunts and cousins that live there. Whenever we visit there is always bound to be traffic and you are so right about those that drive there, too! But do love how your son put things in perspective and yet love you even more, because I am the same way with being stuck in traffic and bad drivers (I can curse them out with the best of them, too!) :)
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ohboymom January 30, 2014 at 10:25 pm

I KNEW you were a girl with Bronx genes as well! No wonder we can both curse like sailors.:)


Kristi Campbell January 30, 2014 at 11:15 pm

While it’s tempting to lie and tell you that my language, too, comes from the Bronx, well, you’d catch me because I’m pretty sure you’d remember that I’m from Colorado and have a mouth that well. Anyway.
UGH to the traffic. Here in DC it sucks, too. IN fact, my dang hubs was in the car with Tucker the other day and slammed on the breaks because some idiot cut him off. Hubs said nothing but did grip the wheel and growl. Tucker? He said his approximation of “JESUS CHRIST!!” which um, yeah, time for the HUBS to curb his swearing because we all know that if kiddo were imitating me? It’d have been a different swear. Here’s to you, mama, to driving that crap drive so often anyway. xoxo


ohboymom January 31, 2014 at 9:45 am

That’s pretty hilarious about Tucker’s approximation…just wait until the teen years when you can blame the other teenagers. I always say to my husband that our kids must hear their friends saying curses and it couldn’t possibly be from us (yeah right).


Kenya G. Johnson January 31, 2014 at 9:12 am

I never experienced anything comparable in terms of traffic. When we moved here though I learned to slow down. People drove like they never needed to be where they were going. Now I am one of those people and anybody who zooms by me I say, “They must be new here.”
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ohboymom January 31, 2014 at 9:43 am

That’s pretty funny – the people in the Bronx need to learn to slow down, or at least drive properly, too.:)


Sandy Ramsey January 31, 2014 at 10:52 am

I hear ya on the road rage! I am the worst, I promise you. I read the sentence where you say you’re son is used to your verbal rants and that’s exactly how my kids are. Used to it. My daughter will be the one to call me out but it doesn’t help. I’m afraid if I tried to put the outward positive spin on it, I would explode. I love this post! I felt right at home!
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ohboymom January 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Glad to hear I’m not alone with the road rage — ranters united!


Lisa @ The Golden Spoon January 31, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Growing up and living in NC, we have NOTHING like New York traffic around here. One of the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life was ride in a taxi from Laguardia to our Times Square hotel – I honestly thought I was going to die. All that to say, huge kudos to you for navigating the traffic at all and if you manage to keep your cool/sanity, even better! :-)
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ohboymom January 31, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Oh yeah, those cab drivers are scary, even to us New Yorkers!


Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. January 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

OK, first of all, I love your disclaimer on the Bronx-ha! Second of all, I totally suck in those situations. We went to the Nutcracker Ballet in December, (which, um, yes, is decidedly less stressful and negatively charged than going to the hospital. Sorry for the idiotic comparison) and we hit unexpected traffic. LIke, not moving at all. I’m not from NY, and I hardly ever drive in downtown Denver, and I sort of lost my mind. IT was me, my mom, and my 7 year old daughter. I said the F word. Maybe more than once. We were going to be late, and I didn’t know where the parking garage was. Yeah. My daughter is very sensitive and became notably upset and asked me not to say those things. Wow. I shut up fast. Those moments where our children humble us out of our crazy behavior are truly eye-opening. Oops, sorry for leaving a short essay in your comments. (And HA to the First Response marketing VP comment on my post. Awesome.) xo
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ohboymom January 31, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Loved your essay above. :) And you’re so right about our kids opening our eyes to our less than stellar parental behavior — just hope I don’t ruin mine before they are in college! And btw, my VP friend loved your post!


The Funster January 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I can so relate! I use to live in Westchester County (near the Tapanzee bridge) and drove into the city on a regular basis. The Bronx River Parkway is almost as bad as the Saw Mill River parkway! But you’re so right, so many of the people you encounter on the parkway can’t drive or are totally oblivious to the drivers around them. Living in Virginia now when I get into really heavy traffic here my New York comes out,,,, “Hey Buddy, WTF (Where’s the fun)??” Anyway, great post, I miss hearing about NY.
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ohboymom January 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Yeah I can see my NY coming out no matter where I am…once you’ve lived here, it becomes a part of you forever — even the road rage!


Kelly January 31, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I do not envy that drive or any other drive in traffic. I try to maintain calm but that’s when my most interesting, most colorful curse words escape! I make them up, in cute little combinations of my favorites! Lol

Yeah and I feel bad about it too…until the next sucker cuts me off!


ohboymom February 1, 2014 at 10:04 am

It’s funny how our road rage can make us into creative curse-ers! I’ve come up with some doozies too – a whole new language! :)


Considerer January 31, 2014 at 6:39 pm

SO glad you wrote this. I get pretty seriously snarky when I’m driving and often swear at other drivers or yell at them or tell them how they should be driving.

I LOVE driving my Big-Dog Van for work, because…well…white vans got a reputation over here, and people mess with me less than when I’m in my little red car. I also get to be Grandly Magnanimous from the BDV, Which is better, really, as I have the logo on the side and would probably end up with a disciplinary for tailgating or something if I wasn’t careful…
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ohboymom February 1, 2014 at 10:03 am

It’s funny because I drive a big white SUV and I feel the same way — that no one would mess with me when I’m coming down the street. The only exception to that seems to be the crazy Bronx drivers I encounter every week!


Chris Carter January 31, 2014 at 11:29 pm

OHMYGOSH we are soul mates!! I don’t know why I allow it to happen, but RAGE comes from me SOUL when I drive!!! I completely lose it- always. I can’t take the crappy drivers EVER!!

Bless your little guy’s heart… My daughter would say the same thing. SO convicting.

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ohboymom February 1, 2014 at 10:02 am

Thanks Chris for reassuring me that road rage is something sooo hard to control!


Don February 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I suck at not cursing like a sailor on leave when I drive. I’ve tried to relax and not worry about it, but I can’t help it. Recently, I had to hit the brakes pretty abruptly when some uh, person, pulled right in front of me. From the back seat, Cool (4y/o) says, “Dickhead!” without even looking up from his Leap pad. Wife asked him wher he learned such a word and my butthole puckered. He said grandma (my mom) and there was much rejoicing in my head! Lol. She dies have a potty mouth.
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ohboymom February 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Ha! My kids’ grandma (my mom), as I mentioned in my post, also had a potty mouth. Glad you didn’t get blamed (this time)! :)


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