So last Tuesday I had been planning to take the train into NYC. This is always my default — partly because I can read or work, but also just because it’s what I’ve always done. Despite living in NYC for nine years (2002-2011), I never drove in the city. I didn’t own a car and also it seemed a little…intimidating.
However, in the last few years there have been several occasions when taking the train was just going to be a hassle. Perhaps I was going somewhere not close to Penn Station (as while filming this TBT In Real Life video last summer!). Or I was taking my son in and didn’t know exactly what time we’d be able to leave. Or — as happened last week — Amtrak has been experiencing problems. I feel like post-pandemic they’ve had fewer later trains, and there’s not a lot of “give” in the system. Last Tuesday a train car got stuck somewhere between Alexandria and Washington DC, and as a result, the northbound trains for the entire east coast got messed up.
Anyway, the result is that I’ve started driving into NYC on occasion. At first this seemed like a daunting prospect. But then I had a realization. One reason there’s a lot of traffic at the tunnels/GWB is that literally thousands of people are driving in and out of NYC every day. They are not all better drivers than I am! Having lived there for nine years (and having gone in frequently since), I’m reasonably familiar with the city’s geography — such that I knew to make a Park Whiz reservation at a garage on 40th street, not 39th, since I’d be headed east coming out of the Lincoln Tunnel, and 40th street is eastbound. When I saw that my train on Tuesday was going to be delayed 2 hours, and the next train I could get was not going to get me to NYC on time, I just hopped in my car and went. If others can, I can.
Perhaps you are totally fine with urban driving. But maybe there is something else that you have built up as a big deal. If so, I find this mantra of “If others can, I can” is helpful. Many many other people have…traveled internationally…filed the paperwork to start a business…bought and sold property…run for a local office…applied to graduate school…gotten a professional license…given speeches…opened investment accounts, etc. These people do not all have some secret ability that the rest of us do not. They had someone explain the process to them or they researched it and figured it out. Those are avenues of discovery open to all of us!
Now to be sure there are some things that *not* many people have done. I am not planning on competing at the Olympics or anything like that. But driving through the Lincoln Tunnel is nothing close to that level. If others can, I can. And now I do!
In other news: Weekend highlights — my husband and I went out for dinner on Friday night, leaving the 3-year-old in the care of our older children. Our daughter helped him go to the bathroom, and didn’t even remark on it later (he told me, not her), which I felt was quite mature! On Saturday we had some friends over to go in the pool and grill. This might not seem like a huge deal, except that four days earlier, the pool had been entirely green. Something had happened while we were out of the country and it had reverted to water’s natural state (basically, a pond). My husband and the pool company launched quite a campaign of chemical balancing and now it is an inviting blue. Phew. On Sunday, the 16-year-old sang with me in the summer church choir, and then my husband took our 13-year-old to camp for three weeks. He seems to be doing OK, at least in the sense that we haven’t gotten any texts or phone calls otherwise. He’s pretty cool about things in general, so I assume it will be fine…