Sunday, July 3, 2011

I made it to New Jersey alive. My parents and I drove all my stuff here in a two day trip that was exactly like The Griswald Family Vacation if the Griswalds drove 16 hours in one day and were only allowed to stop 4 times.
When we made it to my apartment, my dad took one look around and immediately started campaigning for residencies as far away from the East Coast as possible. Well not quite, because that would mean the West coast, which is almost as bad.

I think the thing I was most worried about was going to be the driving. My roommate told me about the unofficial motto of New Jersey drivers, which is: one foot on the break, the other foot on the gas, one hand on the wheel, and the other hand flipping of the other drivers. I can safely say that this is a pretty accurate description.

New Jersey drivers (and I'm assuming most East Coast drivers) are like dogs: they can smell your fear. If you hesitate for even a fraction of a second and they'll start biting your heels  honking and using the shoulder to speed around you because your license plate says Missouri and obviously you are completely inept at life.

This works out well seeing as how I have no idea where I'm going. Other than attempting to drive in a large city while missing the gene that carries directional skills, driving here isn't too bad (granted I haven't actually been out during rush hour, so I'm holding judgement). People here are good drivers and they just kind of go, which in some ways makes it easier to drive here than St. Louis, where everybody must own stock in break pads given how much they enjoy using them.

The real problem here is parking. I park on the street outside my apartment and the street sweeper comes through four times a week and everyone has to go out and move their car from 10 to Noon . It sounds easy enough except I keep forgetting which side of the street has to move.

Yesterday I went out to check on my car only to see that it was the only one left on its side of the street. Not a good sign. So I run in and get my keys. When I went back out to move my car the meter maid that drives in front of the street sweeper, like the harbinger of death, was heading down the street. I made it to my car and drove off just as she pulled up to give me a ticket! Take that New Jersey Transit Authority. The good news is that this won't be an issue when I finally start working. The bad news is the first day I'm post call and I'm trying to sleep during the day I'm going to get a ticket.

Here's the other problem related to parking. I cannot parallel park. The only time I have successfully parallel parked was in the Drivers Ed car in high school. And that was only because there was a football player in the passenger seat telling me exactly what to do. I even failed that section of the driving test and the crazy DMV lady still passed me!

The people here are like parallel parking wizards. They can park in spaces that leave about 6 inches between each bumper. I don't even understand how they can pull out of spaces like that. I mostly just drive around until I can find a place where I can just pull straight in. I went to the library the other day, and after 10 minutes of driving around, it became very apparent that if I ever wanted to stop driving I was going to have to parallel park. So I drove around until there wasn't anyone driving up behind me because I did not need the extra pressure of some impatient person behind me (it's like vehicular performance anxiety). It took me 5 minutes and a 60-point turn to get into the space, but I finally made it.

Pictoral Evidence
I was still about 18 inches away from the curb. I got out of my car and there was this guy sitting on his porch laughing at me. Glad I could provide some entertainment for your smoke break, dude.

Do you think there are driving schools that offer remedial parallel parking?

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