Patti Soldavini

Olive in The City

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 06/21/2011 at 9:28 pm

"A prostitute AND a clown?"

Olive was in the heart of New York City on Saturday. (That is if you believe that New York actually has a heart.) By accident. I took Olive with me as we embarked on a trip to Weehawken, New Jersey to drop one of my nephews off at the New York Waterway Ferry. For those of you not familiar with the ferry, it offers a civilized 10-minute ride from New Jersey to New York with none of the hassles of driving. That is of course IF YOU CAN F’ING GET TO THE DOCK. As I come down the ramp into Weehawken ready to make the left hand turn at the only road I know of that leads to the dock, it is barricaded with giant orange and white plastic drums. No sign. But New Jerseyans are used to this. No sign is needed. It means, FIND YOUR OWN F’ING WAY.” “Cripes,” I groan, “Now what?” I have about three seconds to decide if I want to go through the Lincoln Tunnel. I turn to look at Olive in the back seat, sitting there much more tranquil than she ever is when she’s way back in Outer Mongolia, otherwise known as the cargo area. I hate the idea of going into “the jungle” with Olive, but I don’t have much choice. My nephew needs to be at Penn Station to catch a train. “Buckle up,” I announce to John and Olive, “We have to drive through the urban birth canal.” I hear Olive, faintly snoring in the back. Apparently, she’s just so happy to be nearer to me, she’ll just sleep through this adventure. I hate the tunnel. I hate the idea of being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic under the Hudson River for 1.5 miles. After what seems like hours, there’s light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. One of my favorite sights. (My other favorite sight is the sign that reads “Welcome to New Jersey” when we leave.) As we are expelled from the tunnel’s mouth like a drunkard’s morning-after gob of spit, Olive stares at me with a look that suggests she is wondering what the hell will come next. I come to a light where I need to make a left turn only to be confronted by sheer civil engineering idiocy. The traffic crossing in front of me is snaking around to ENTER THE TUNNEL. It was probably conceived by the same rocket scientist who designed fast food stores whose exit doors dump diners out into the path of oncoming drive-thru traffic. Since most New Yorkers suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and have a deeply abiding unearned sense of cultural entitlement, they proceed to block the entire grid as they stream continuously through 12 red lights. (And might I remind people that New Jersey was home to Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Bruce Springsteen. It doesn’t get much smarter and more accomplished than that.) To make matters worse, there is a nutless schmo in the silver barge in front of me who is actually WAITING for someone to let him through. Hey Bozo, this is not the Midwest. No one is going to “let” you in. You need to drive like William The Conqueror. I maneuver my Saturn around his car as though mine is a can opener on wheels. As I let fly a percussive note of filthy words that would make a convict blush, I glance back at Olive who is quietly and contentedly chewing on her bully stick while she’s stretched out across the length of the back seat. This is when she’s not people-and-dog-watching. “Look Olive, there’s a prostitute AND a clown!” Either she thinks that I have everything under control or she knows it’s best not to get involved at this moment. (Smarter than most back seat drivers.) Finally, I get to the entrance to Penn Station which is unrecognizable under a mountain of scaffolding. The building looks like the mouth of an eighth-grader with braces the size of a football stadium. I hug my nephew goodbye, jump back in the car, look at Olive and say, “Let’s get the hell out of this shithole, Olive. And this time we’re taking the GWB (George Washington Bridge) so if we get stuck behind some insecure mouse driving a car that’s too big for his skills, we can just push him off the bridge.” (Just kidding. And people wonder why New Jerseyans are so “gritty.”) The next time Olive goes into The City, it will be only to sign autographs of her book, “My Life with Patti,” at Barnes & Noble.

  1. I now know most likely why people hate driving in New York City! This post had me belly laughing. : ) Olive seems to have back seat driving all figured out. She needs to give lessons.

  2. Wow! That was quite a trip…Olive seemed to have taken it all in stride though. I had an experience with NY traffic years ago…never again!!! Hugs and nose kisses

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