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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