Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bustin' a Move... Or Not Really

I went to the gym on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I was feeling pretty damn proud of myself.  Two Zumba classes and a kickboxing class.  I am woman, I thought.
Then, I go on Facebook and see one of my high school friends is going to be in an Ironman competition in Kona, Hawaii.  I was wondering, “Hmm, I wonder if that’s, like, a big deal,” because his wall post just said, “Kona!”  At first I thought he was talking about his morning coffee, but all his buds were like, “You rock!” “You worked hard for this, you deserve it!”
So, I Google up Kona Ironman and it’s something like THE HARDEST TRIATHLON IN THE WORLD — “2.4-miles of swimming, 112-miles of biking, and a 26.2-mile marathon run through tough ocean waves, and challenging lava-covered terrain.”
Talk about feeling like I just got flicked in the forehead.  I’m sitting here, all “I’m not a national obesity stat… yet — so booyah to me” and “I’m not on heart, cholesterol or blood pressure meds yet — so chalk one up for The Cath!” (that’s right, I was feeling so good it was NFL-like, third-person reference time), and here’s my friend Eric in an Ironman.  KONA Ironman.
It would be easier to swallow this news if he was a single guy, living with the ‘rents, jobless with nothing better to do but train all day.  But that’s not even it!  He commutes to a magazine job in NYC every day, has a wife, a daughter, a house to take care of.  And the phrase, “Back in ’82″ is more than just a “Napoleon Dynamite” reference; it’s when we graduated high school!!  So, I’m like, “Daaammmmnnnn!”
At this point, rather than berate myself for not having Ironman energy that inspires 70-mile morning bike rides in freezing temperatures… or whatever!… I mentally gave myself two options:
  • Option One: Get more mojo by drinking more morning joe.
  • Option Two: Crank up the ol’ metabolism by launching a coke snorting habit.
Since I didn’t like the idea of running to the loo any more than coffee already has me in there, Option One: DENIED.  And since I don’t cotton to the idea of a cocaine-induced heart attack, serving jail time or giving my kids any more bad examples or ammo to use against me, Option Two: DENIED.
That brought me to Option Three: Stop the crazy talk and just tear into frat-housesized bags of Fritos and Snyder’s Buffalo Wing pretzels, get cozy in a corner of the sofa and call it a day. Of course, that would have me growing out of my clothes in no time, thus mandating a clothes shopping trip — and who has the energy for THAT?!
Maybe I’ll just buy some Kona coffee, get my ass to Zumba and take it from there….

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Mean Streets

I was driving to Lowe's Home Improvement this morning, a drive that takes roughly 4 minutes, and was dangerously cut-off not once, not twice, but three times.

My sister and I both went to Canada for our family summer vacations this year.  Her family went to Prince Edward Island.  Mine went to Quebec, with a pitstop in Montreal.  We both reached the same conclusion: Canadians are genuinely nice and don't seem to have anger issues behind the wheel.

No one in Canada tailgated to the point where we thought they would attempt to actually just drive over our car.  Nobody got into the left lane of the two-lane highway only to slow down because they needed to yap on their phone, or send a text or passive/aggressivly block traffic in a pathetic attempt at a powertrip.  Canadians passed on the left and got right back into the right lane.

Contrast that with Jersey driving.  Not only is this state the most congested in the nation, we have to absorb the drivers from Pennsylvania and New York, too.

Before I offend any of my friends: I don't have any NY friends who drive to Jersey -- they're all big babies who need door-to-door rides.  And my PA friends are obviously excellent drivers. ;)

So, wildly biased generalization #1: New York drivers leave their brains at the bridge or tunnel when they visit Jersey. Pass up your exit?  Just back up a half-mile down the shoulder and sit on the median  like a bug until you can cut off as many people as possible in an attempt to gain re-entry. Not sure whether to make a right or left turn?  Just start to go right until you feel the need to pull a U-ey and go left afterall.

Wildly biased generalization #2: Pennsylvania drivers, I'm convinced, must be former Jerseyans who moved to PA for a cheaper place to live.  Only, they now have to commute from four to six hours a day.  Which must make them tired, cranky and bitter -- and they're behind the wheel of an automobile!  Holy Christ.  When driving 70 in the middle lane of Route 80 at 4 in the afternoon, if a car should suddenly appear to be attached to your rear bumper and then it jerks to the left or right, and then cuts back in front of you, you can be sure a blue, white and yellow license plate adorns their car.  It's one of the thousands of Pocono drivers hoping to get home before 8 at night.

So, outside of moving to Canada, whaddya do?  We could charge every NY- and PA-plated car (except for my personal friends! LOL) a toll -- the same way NYC charges $8 to cross the GWB, Lincoln and Holland tunnels.  Maybe making a buck or two would take the edge off of dealing with all the extra congestion and aggravation.  Or perhaps major train service to PA.  (That would only take 25 years to install.)

But neither of those propositions would deal with Jersey drivers.  Who are all excellent and Autobahn-ready.  Except for those who aren't...!