Sunday, April 26, 2009

Toll Booths and Fire Proofs

Do you have any idea what 4:30 a.m. looks like? Dark. I have stayed up that late before, but I don't think I've ever seen it from the other side.

My little brother is leaving for Hawaii in a few weeks (he's in the Navy), and this was his last weekend-day off before he leaves. I wanted to be able to spend a little more time with him, but it ended up that I wasn't able to leave until early Saturday morning. It kind of is a beautiful drive, after it gets light enough to see, anyway.

Six hours. The 365 miles from my house to my brother's takes six hours, and $24 in tolls. It's because of all the bridges. (Don't tell Delaware, but I didn't have enough cash on me to pay the toll because I hadn't realized there wasn't an exit before I could stop at an ATM, but the attendant assured me because I stopped, I will only get a bill in the mail and not a ticket.)

Even the Jersey Turnpike is beautifully green in the spring.

That is until you get within spitting distance on NYC. Then all you get is smog and concrete.

Wave to New York!

By the time I crossed the George Washington Bridge into New York State, it was almost 9 a.m. and I was feeling totally lonely. There's only so much Carbon Leaf you can listen to before you need real human interaction. It didn't help that I was passing through Yonkers when Green Day's "All By Myself" came on my iPod and I began thinking about that play "Lost in Yonkers."

Thank heavens my roommate was awake and talked to my until the Connecticut boarder.

How do you know when you've finally reached Connecticut? The beautiful day turns into a misty midnight. Form that point, the fog began to lift and my parents talked to me until I got within ten miles of my brother's house.

I only had about twelve hours to spend with my brother because he had to report on base at 7:30 a.m. the next morning, but we made the best of our time. We went to the Book Barn, this great used bookstore with outbuildings full of books. (This picture is from the Book Barn's website because I forgot to grab my camera.)

Of course we also ate New England seafood and walked along the Mystic harbor. (Sorry, this picture is from last fall because, again, no camera.)

But probably the most fun was being able to meet a bunch of my brother's buddies from the boat. Everybody was getting together this weekend for one last hurrah before being shipped out, so I got to meet a bunch of the people my brother is always telling stories about and have become his family out here. I'm glad I got to meet so many of them before they go 5,000 miles away. We finished off the night with a bonfire and goofing off.

I'm really going to miss my brother because, let's face it, I might love an excuse to go to Hawaii in the next three years, but unless I come into an unexpected inheritance from a long-lost, third-great-aunt's exhusband's cousin twice removed, that is one expensive trip to take. So today I will enjoy the quiet New England spring and get some writing done, drive six more hours, spend $24 more in tolls, and be glad for the time I could spend with my little bro.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you were able to spend at least a little time with your brother before he gets shipped off. It sounds like a nice weekend even though it involved a whole lot of driving, $48 in toll fees and some extreme lonliness. If I'd been out there, I would've been happy to ride along with you. Alas, I am also several thousand miles away. I'm glad I talked to you for a little while tonight though.