Monday, February 4, 2008

Sussy Time and an Escape from New Jersey!

Okay, still waiting on my own sussy to arrive, but I was so pleased to find out that Amalas was thrilled with the sussy I mailed to her. If you are my sussy sender, I hope it is coming soon, but please don't spoil my surprise. I still want to be surprised! I miss the days of anticipating the actual snail mail. More often than not, it's only bills.

Friday I had a job interview in downtown Philadelphia, but I found out today that they chose someone else. They were really lovely people at the office, and while I'm a little disappointed, it's not so bad. I feel like I have enough other things up in the air at the moment that I'll pull through just fine. Some of these other things sound really terrific, so please, keep your fingers crossed, say a little prayer, burn candles to the goddess or whatever it is you do to wish divine luck to someone, because I am hopeful that some of these phone screenings will turn into successful interviews.

Also, on Friday, the weather here in the greater Philly area was horrendous. Rain, fog, and more rain. We were fortunate to avoid the frozen stuff, but still, lots of yuck abounding. After my job interview, I took a ride to New Jersey. Yes, on purpose.

It was rainy and foggy enough that the tip-tops of the towers on the Ben Franklin Bridge seemed to disappear into the sky. Here they are when you can see them...that's Philadelphia in the way-background...


Over the bridge and through Camden, I was travelling to Collingswood, NJ, former home of my Uncle John. His house was sold to a nice, young professional woman a little more than a month ago. A couple of months ago, Matt, Nigel and I went on a trip to pick up a dining room table and some other furniture odds and ends from the place, and we ended up leaving Matt's toolbox and drill behind. The realtor was kind enough to hold onto our stuff until we could come pick it up. The drive to Collingswood was only another 15 minutes from my interview down near South Street in Philadelphia, so it seemed like a great day to pay a visit to the realtor's office.

Let me just say that Friday was a driving adventure. First of all, I'd never driven the streets of Philadelphia on my own, and that was far, far less daunting than driving the streets of New Jersey on my own. I don't know if it's all of NJ or just southern NJ that is so terribly ridiculous. I feel there are divided roads for no reason, exits that just aren't clearly labeled, and signs that come up too fast. I got a wee bit lost attempting to enter Collingswood, because Google Maps failed to mention some little detail on a road sign. I passed over Collings Avenue, which sounded familiar, and I considered stopping somewhere for directions. I was starving, and decided instead I would just stop for lunch.

After some McDonalds (hey, it was cheap, fast, and didn't require me to cross a busy road with only a turn lane and no traffic light...), I made my way back to Collings Ave and remarkably turned in the right direction. After about a mile, I recognized the greater Collingswood area. I finally reached my destination and picked up the tools.

I managed to keep the sadness at bay somehow. I'm guessing the infuriating traffic was the conduit for that. Yet I couldn't avoid the sinking feeling inside when I saw the street that I knew eventually intersected with my Uncle's old street, the tug of sadness realizing I'd never spent the day in this adorable town he'd called home more than once. He'd taken Matt and I to coffee at one of his favorite cafes, and then before we left for Delaware we sat on his front porch chatting, his cat Nora pawing at the screen on the window because we weren't inside petting her. Molly, his other cat, gave us that "better than you" kitty glare from the top of the stairs.

I could understand why he liked it there. There were restaurants, antique shops, boutiques. It didn't feel like New Jersey, but it was certainly more affordable than Philadelphia, and the train station was only a few yards from his house.

Uncle John is doing okay, actually. He's still in Williamsport, but he's moved out of the group home, much to my mother's dismay, and into an apartment. He doesn't really have a great concept about money, and my mom is considering finding an accountant to handle his finances to take the pressure off of her. He'll take $60 out at the ATM, but then he'll use his debit card for a $2.00 purchase right after that, etc, etc. I'm glad she's getting help with things. There's a lot going on in Williamsport right now with all of my family, and it's just overwhelming for my poor mother. She also told me Uncle John mentioned that he'd driven his car to New Jersey to have it inspected. That guaranteed another flip-out, for sure. They're just not sure what to do with him.

I feel like I know how my uncle feels on the inside. Williamsport feels like such a stifling little town when you're used to living near a bigger city. Minimal culture, no public transportation late at night, and very few interesting hangouts. All of Uncle John's friends are in the Philadelphia area or scattered around the country. He was always very independent before, and I'm sure he's just trying to assert it in his own stubborn way.

When I go home to Williamsport, I think about how nice of a place it is to visit for a little while, but I'm always glad I don't have to stay.

But one thing is for sure...at least it's not New Jersey. I was in NJ for all of an hour, and I cursed more people out than I did in the entire trip from Blue Bell to downtown Philadelphia. Then you have to pay $3.00 to get out of the state, and once you get off the Ben Franklin Bridge into Pennsylvania, there's sort of a free-for-all situation with the lanes that's downright unnerving!

I will think twice this week before complaining about the drivers out here in the suburbs. I suddenly feel lucky.

4 comments:

  1. No, no, the roads are like that all over Jersey.

    It's one of my favorite parts of living here.

    ::bangs head against wall::

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  2. New Jersey roads make no sense. It's one of the reasons why we don't visit my cousins there very often.

    Williamsport sounds a lot like the town my mom grew up in, in central PA. BORING. I love to visit and go to the local amusement park, but after that I am in need of the outside cultured world. I hope things start making sense with your family, it sounds stressful for all involved.

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  3. I hope things work out with your uncle & the stress for your mom. That has got to be difficult.

    Good luck on the job-hunting. I'll keep you in my prayers.

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  4. Ugh, Jersey driving is, in the opinion of someone from Philly, a nightmare.

    I just can't figure out why left turns are considered evil over there. :p

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