Planes, Trains, But No Automobiles


Our photo albums are filled with pictures of family members with cars, like this one of my dad.

My sister’s first car was a peach Volaré. It had faux Corinthian leather seats and, when you turned on the a/c, white smoke puffed out of the vents. We referred to this malfunction as the “papal election”.

Do you remember your first car? Did you name it?

I love to drive. Give me a functioning radio, some snacks, and a full tank of gas and I’ll go anywhere, any time. When the kids were little, I’d pack them into their car seats and drive down to Florida. This was back in the day before you could plug them into the minivan. We’d sing. They’d color and fight and eventually fall asleep. I would drive and daydream through the night.

They’re old now so I should be driving less but I still manage to crank out about 20,000 miles a year.

The rose, however, is beginning to lose its bloom. I’m turning into a grouch behind the wheel because you’re making me mad.

I’m tired of scanning cars on the road and seeing everyone looking down at their laps, reading emails or texting. I’m tired of tailgaters riding my bumper despite my 10-miles over the limit traveling speed. And I’m tired of the volume. It just seems that there are too many vehicles. My open road is closing.

So I’m trying to cool it with my car. But, to quote the brilliant Neil Sedaka, breaking up is hard to do.

I’m jealous of city-dwellers who can swipe a Metro Card and head anywhere via subway. I used to hate it. The smell. The crowd. And I had a ridiculous fear that someone was going to push me onto the track. I’ve learned to observe the #1 rule of the underground: make no eye contact.

©The Open Suitcase LLC

In suburbia, my public transportation options are limited. Our bus routes are constructed to accommodate workers, so if you’re not a nurse heading to the local hospital for your shift, you’re out of luck. And I live on the side of the Hudson River that is not serviced by the wonderful Metro North trains that head to Grand Central station, but the not so great NJ Transit trains that head to Penn. Ugh.

I do have one super local transit option. Practically outside my door is a NY Waterway stop for a ferry that heads across the Hudson to Ossining. It runs a weekdays-only schedule, but it makes a Tuesday trip to NYC a vacation. Toot! Toot! The captain pulls our yacht up to the dock, passengers scurry aboard, flash an e-ticket on our phones and set sail – figuratively. Nine minutes later, you dock on the other side and hop on the express train downtown. It’s fun.

@The Open Suitcase LLCI also ride the ferry to meet my Westchester friends for dinner. I have to keep a close eye on the clock because the last ferry is at 9:32 p.m. I do not wish to be stranded outside the gates of Sing Sing prison at night. This has replaced my fear of subways. Apparently I am not meant to live free of travel nightmares. What’s yours?


3 thoughts on “Planes, Trains, But No Automobiles

  1. I recognized the CANAL STREET sign right away; I was just in Manhattan for a vacation, and we passed by that sign countless times on the metro! As far as travel nightmares, mine would be flying; I dislike it immensely, but sometimes there’s just no other way around it! I too enjoy hopping in the car, and just driving. The open road, especially getting off the beaten path, it’s for me! I love packing up the family and driving to a new and exciting destination.

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