The day before Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 27, 2014
It was a cold, wet walk from my car to the office yesterday Ė the third production day in a week shortened by Thanksgiving.
The holidays havenít felt right since my mother died more than a decade ago, and even before that, the traditions have faded as family members dropped out of his world one after another. Between 1989 and 2002, I lost nearly everybody I grew up with, and the last two of that generation faded between 2010 and 2012, so as to leave little left to celebrate on a holiday dedicated to family. If I hadnít found a pack of sisters I didnít know about prior to this, I would have no family at all Ė except for a daughter, a wife, and ex-wife, and a few scattered cousins.
Yet around me on the street in the middle of Hoboken, people scrambled to flee, the foul weather foiling the easy getaway they thought they could manage, snarling traffic along the few exit points in a city so small I could spit from one end to the other, and would, if I didnít fear getting a ticket.
Unlike a few days ago when I found a free parking space and got a $45 ticket as my reward, yesterday I found a space I could park in for the maximum four hours, but it was five blocks from the office and a cold, wet walk through a drizzle that included flecks of snow.
Work went well although I made the mistake of buying soup and fruit at Kings, which only royalty can afford, reminding me that life along the Gold Coast is just as costly as life in old Gold Mining towns, and that if you havenít struck it rich, you canít afford to live here Ė everything is geared to get a much out of you on the presumption that you are rich and can afford the outrageous prices stores like Kings charge.
Later, I got a call from my wife, saying sheíd gotten out of work early, but had struggled to find an ice free path to the subway on her trip home, weaving through the ugly streets of The Bronx in an hour long odyssey that would continue on this side of the Hudson River. The Heights were worse off that Hoboken, a fact that I found out when I drove up to rescue her. I didnít find her, but got caught up in the rush to leave the city traffic mess, and took much longer to reach home than she did. I followed the path she said she was going to take, a long, ice-laden path that she abandoned last minute for a steeper, but less strenuous one.
Needless to say, we both got home safe, if not un-harried, while the highway behind the house became a parking lot of people far less lucky than we were, but far luckier in that at the end of their journey, they would find warmth and family waiting.