I got home last night - that is, this morning. I did not get enough sleep last night (this morning), and I'm tired enough that my imagination is going off on little trips without the rest of me, but I am home. And while the trip home was not the worst trip I've had from Noho to Philly, it certainly wasn't the best, either.
I guess the tale starts with yesterday morning.
I woke up at 6 or so, and lay in bed a while, enjoying the fact that the temperature was very nice. I glanced at the clock, noticed that it had become 6:20, and decided to get up. I awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. Glancing at the clock, I discovered that it had somehow become 7:45. My dad was on the phone, and the import of his message, more or less, was, "Hi, I'm about 5 minutes away from your dorm. Can you let me in?" I begged at least ten minutes, and hurried to get up and dressed. I knew that my dad was coming up, but he said late morning, which I assumed to mean twelve-ish at the earliest. It transpired that dad had spent the night sleeping in the car at a reststop somewhere, and had been woken up at 5:30 in the morning by a guy knocking on the car window, wanting gas money.
At 7:45 yesterday morning, my room was only partially packed, and I still had papers to finish. So dad packed and I finished papers, and then we both packed, and we eventually got off at about 3:30 (okay, I admit it; it took longer to pack than I thought it would - next year I will add an extra day to my estimate. Of course, it didn't help that the washer decided to malfunction and my last load of laundry was dripping wet when I took it out of the washer, or that dad accidentally filled my waterbottle with powerade, and other fun things like that.). I called my brother to tell him that we'd probably be home about 9:00, which he deftly translated to 10:30.
We'd hardly been on the road at all (and dad had just finished explaining how he'd found a new route that was much better than going through NYC) when we hit traffic. We crawled for a while, and eventually dad pointed out that we were getting low on gas. After that we got moving again, but seemed to have hit a stretch of road that was completely devoid of gas stations. Dad started getting worried that we would hit more traffic and be run out of gas, so we pulled off in a little town right after the Tappenzee Bridge. After wandering around the gas-less country roads, we found a sign for the business district of Piermont. Neither of us saw anything that looked remotely like a business district; in fact, it looked like more hilly country with some houses dotted here and there - but we decided that it was probably the best bet, and pulled off the main road. After going down a steep incline on narrow, tightly-switchbacking roads, we arrived at a flattish bit by the river that looked like an upscale town, but we didn't see any gas stations. We asked a few pedestrians, who told us that our best bet was probably to go back to the highway and look in some other town over there. So we went back up the switchbacks (I am glad that I was not driving; I do not think I could have started the car on those hills after stopping at the stopsigns), along the country road, crossed whatever highway we'd been on, and entered the town of Nyack. We asked some more pedestrians who directed us to a gas station. The gas was 40 or 50 cents per gallon more expensive than other places we'd seen, but at that point dad was just glad to get some more gas in the car. We got sandwiches there as well, and tried to head back to the highway. And couldn't figure out how too. We wound up driving on some little country route, perhaps 100 feet to the left of the highway, unable to find any signs for a junction. After wandering around another little town with poorly marked routes (or perhaps it was more of Nyack), we did manage to get back on the right road, headed in the proper direction. A ways along, we stopped at a rest station and got out to eat our sandwiches. I refilled my waterbottle (but, unfortunately, neglected to empty out the diluted powerade that was already in it). Once on the road again, we ran into more traffic, although not as bad as we'd seen in Connecticut. I soon discovered that the water-with-some-lemon-powerade had a distinctly nasty flavor, and only drank out of it when I was thirsty enough to not mind the taste.
We got to New Jersey, and I stopped paying much attention to anything, just letting my tired mind out for a romp. Somewhere about then I called my brother to tell him that the original ETA (that we would be home at 9:00) had been discarded in favor of something more like 10:30. He had the grace not too say "I told you so" too loudly. I let my mind wander, and only paid attention again when dad started making noises to the effect that he thought we'd missed our exit. We stopped at the nearest rest stop, and upon consulting a map, discovered that we had indeed missed our exit, but dad glibly announced that it would be okay; we could transfer to such-and-such a road and come into Philadelphia from the south. I was tired from all the packing, in somewhat of a stupor from sitting in the car so long, and quite possibly dehydrated as well, so I didn't really pay much attention to the details. After another long while of driving, we got to the end of whatever road we were on - without having reached the junction with whatever road dad had picked out. We pulled over to consult the map and discovered that while the two roads ran nearly on top of each other for a while, there didn't seem to be a junction to switch between the two, and at any rate, we didn't seem to have any choices but to keep going on the road we were on. We wound up in Wilmington. Now, I have nothing against Wilmington, but Delaware is not in the "Quickest ways to get from Massachusetts to Philadelphia." However, it was late, and at that point I didn't really care anymore. Somewhere about there it occurred to me that I had dismantled my room when I left, and that I was going to have to find sheets and make my bed before I could sleep in it, which was a charming thought.
Right about the time we crossed into Pennsylvania, dad and I both switched from the kind of sleep deprivation where one is tired to the kind of sleep deprivation where one is hyper. This was probably a good thing, because we'd only just gotten inside Philadelphia limits when we discovered that there was some kind of accident on 76, the main road to get from where we were to the part of the city that I live in - there was a line of unmoving cars on the entrance ramp, and people were backing up and pulling off into a side street. We decided to join the group on the side street, and had a lovely scenic tour through run-down bits of South Philadelphia before we found another way onto 76. There we encountered another problem - or perhaps more of the same - because, in true Philadelphia fashion, the entire road had been ripped up, and the four-lane highway had to fit into two slow moving lanes - and then one slow moving lane. But we eventually got through that, and I discovered, through reading the roadside posters and then asking my dad, that the favored Democratic mayoral candidate is named Nutter. He seems a decent fellow, but I wish that he had a different name.
We got home at 12:30, completely exhausted, to find my brother waiting up for us. When told that he ought to have been in bed hours ago, he announced that he didn't have school today. We didn't bother to unpack the car.
I woke up at 7:30 this morning, bright and early. I suppose that it cold have been worse.