Friday, March 16, 2007

Punched Out Early

WITH A SLEET STORM raging across the area, immobilizing airports and glazing roads into skating rinks, I decided to head home on the first train out. My supervisor had taken the day off, I had completed all of the few tasks I had to perform in her absence, and I wasn't feeling that lucky coming up sevens on the train. Normally it blasts through everything, but tonight, I suspected I would be joined by half of New Jersey's commuting corps trying to flee home early. It being a Friday, few folks would need a lot of nudging to head home for the additional reason of getting ahead of a storm.

I've been fortunate enough not to have to leave work for illness midday all that often in my nearly 8 years with this firm. It's not as easy as my last job, which was a 25-minute automotive dash between work in Mahwah to home in Hackensack, with gas stations, bookstores, and other bathroom-equipped establishments all along Route 17 to backstop me mid-puke. In the city, you're at the mercy of bus and train schedules, and in the case of the bus, midday it's a milk run that makes Every. Goddamn. Stop. along the Palisades and down through the tainted fens of the northern Meadowlands even before it creeps with painful sloth through the lower armpit region of Bergen County. This is a joyous thrill-ride on a bouncing bus while succumbing to stomach flu.

I returned home today without delay or incident, and immediately felt like I had come home on a sick day. Ridiculous. Old instincts die hard. To counteract this feeling, I went out and cleaned off the car. Insane as this sounds, I have a trip to the gym planned for tomorrow morning. This might be done in whiteout conditions, if the wind kicks up. Right now it looks damn Christmas-y out. Tomorrow it's supposed to stay cold. It might be safer to trek to the gym on foot.

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