The Island of Long is the affectionate term I have given to Long Island.
More specifically, the five towns (are there other places aside from those five towns? Yes, I know there are … I just always happen to end up in one of those five lovely towns.) Why do I call it the Island of Long? Perhaps it is because it takes such a long time to get there. Bridges and tunnels and highways, oh my. In all my years of driving there, there rarely has been a time where there was no traffic. How is it possible that some road is always under construction? What are they doing? And if they are doing something, they have very poor engineers, because nothing ever seems to change, except that the lanes get smaller and I am always convinced that I am going to hit the divider. Unless my car has just gotten fatter. Who knows.
When the boys were little, the bridges became a geography lesson. Who can name the three boroughs that the Triborough Bridge connects? And then we have the Throgs Neck Bridge, which the boys used to call the “Froggy Neck Bridge.” Really it was hours and hours of entertainment.
You can leave early in the morning and sit in two hours of traffic. You can leave late at night and sit in two hours of traffic. And then, of course, you can give yourself extra time because you really need to be somewhere and it ends up taking you 43 minutes. Murphy’s Law. You gotta love it. One boy I met in college told me that he would never date a Jersey girl because we were “geographically undesirable.” Back atcha, buddy!
This past weekend my family had an aufruf in the Island of Long. Husband #1’s first cousin got married on Sunday, so we all went to celebrate this very momentous occasion. The meals weren’t at the synagogue that the family usually goes to, they were a bit further away — but the length of the walk didn’t matter because we were all so happy to be there.
Friday night dinner was lovely. The flowers, the food, the people — perfect. Speeches were funny and all was right with the world.
And then we had the walk home.
What happens when four people from New Jersey have to figure out how to get back to a house they don’t live in and there is no Waze or Google Maps? Normally, getting lost wouldn’t be an issue, but I was having an issue. You see, I had gotten into a car accident a few days earlier and was taking a lot of Advil for the pain (sprained wrist, bruised rib, even more bruised car…yes, second car accident in my family this summer, but we are all alive, thank God, and the rest doesn’t matter) and my stomach was having some issues. And they decided to appear when we were walking home. Lost. In the Island of Long.
After the first dead end we ran into, I started getting a little nervous, worrying that I was going to have a different kind of accident. My family, true to form, was making fun of me. They wouldn’t let me knock on anyone’s door. It was late, after all. And then husband #1 walked us into another dead end. And that is when I looked around and realized how much construction was going on in the neighborhood.
It seemed that every other house was adding on or building new. And what did they all have in common? Porta-Potties. I wish I was joking. My boys said, “Just go in the woods. No one will see you.” I didn’t have the strength to go into a lesson on the female anatomy. After all, I was the mom who could drive through the entire state of Indiana without having to stop to go to the bathroom. And there was the Porta-Potty — like a mirage in the desert. I heard my mother’s voice in the back of my head: “Don’t do it!! They are dirty!” I thought of when my guys were little and they needed to go. I wouldn’t let them use the Porta-Potty — we would pick a lovely tree or find a more proper rest room.
But when you have no idea how much longer it will take you to get home, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And in this girl’s case, it gave me some good copy for a column.
And hopefully, I didn’t get hepatitis….
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is hoping no one was offended by this column. She also hopes that the person whose Porta-Potty she used doesn’t read this…