Background - Sara K was coming to Passaic for Shabbos to see a friend from Baltimore, who I am also friends with. We'll call her Ephraim's mommy (and we LOVE Ephraim). Unfortunately, I had plans to be in Lakewood for Shabbos, so I was going to miss Sara K, but she had asked me about getting home on Friday and after I explained the bus schedule to her, we decided to meet at Port Authority and ride to Passaic together. Once in Passaic, I would take Sara K to Ephraim's mommy's house and be immediately on my way to Lakewood, where I was spending Shabbos with 6 of my friends for a "Girl's Shabbos."
Keep in mind that candle-lighting time this week was 6:43 PM. It's also important to note that the bus trip from Port Authority to Passaic typically takes 20 minutes and has, in the past, taken as little as 15 minutes.
3:45 PM - Sara K and I leave our respective offices and head towards Port Authority.
4:00 PM - Sara K and I meet at Port Authorty and head inside to catch the 4:08 bus.
4:04 PM - Sara K and I board 4:08 bus, stow Sara K's suitcase, find seats, and prepare for our ride.
4:08 PM - Bus still sitting at Port Authority, a few more people are still boarding and having to stand because all the seats are taken.
4:12 PM - Bus leaves Port Authority. I'm a little concerned because it's raining and I'm cutting it a little close as it is, but figure I'll be okay.
(All times after this are approximate.)
4:16 PM - Bus emerges from Lincoln Tunnel, into heavy traffic. We start inching our way towards Passaic, the rain falling hard. I'm hoping the traffic will clear out quickly and we will be on our way.
4:20 PM - Still inching along. The bus driver apparently has a fondness for the slowest lane. The frum man behinds me apparently thinks the bus is his office and is having a business meeting on his cell phone. Extremely loudly.
4:25 PM - I'm starting to get nervous as we have not gotten very far. We are still near the Weehawken Library, which is a really cool castle-looking building. I remind myself to check it out one of these days.
4:30 PM - I call my friend in Lakewood and ask her to look online at traffic.com to see whether it would be faster for me to take the New Jersey Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway. She can't find any info for the Garden State Parkway.
4:35 PM - I call my friend who is coming from Baltimore to Lakewood and ask her if she has any info for the Turnpike. Not really, as she is getting off the Turnpike as we speak.
4:37 PM - Sara K hands me her cell phone with the information number for the New Jersey Turnpike. I note the fact that not only does Sara K know everyone, she has all the info you would ever need at her fingertips as well. I mentally note that for whatever occasion I find myself without an internet connection.
4:40 PM - The info line tells me that traffic will be bad on the Turnpike where I need to drive. I'm getting quite nervous now.
4:50 PM - Bus still inching along. After 45 minutes of driving, we have reached Route 3, which is completely and totally backed up.
5:00 PM - Man behinds me finishes his business conversation. I try to get rid of the headache in the few minutes of silence he is affording me.
5:05 PM - As we are still creeping along (in the slowest lane of course) I realize there is no way I can make it to Lakewood for Shabbos unless we pass whatever accident must be in front of us immediately. I start getting sad.
5:10 PM - Still inching along, in Secaucus now.
5:15 PM - I ask Sara K which meals she is eating at Ephraim's mommy's house. She tells me they are eating all their meals there. I ask is she thinks they would mind if I join. She says not at all, and asks if I want her to call Ephraim's mommy. I tell her that I will.
5:17 PM - I call Ephraim's mommy and explain the situation. She tells me, "The more, the merrier!" I make a mental note that I really like people from Cleveland.
5:20 PM - The guy behind me gets on the phone again, with what sounds like a friend this time.
5:25 PM - One of the standing passengers is bored so he starts a pool to guess what time we will get into Passaic. He managed to collect approximately $15 from different passengers who participate in his pool. He is entertaining.
5:30 PM - Still in Secaucus. I call my friend in Lakewood to tell her I'm not coming. That I'm still on the bus. She is disappointed. And then she realizes that she needs challah! (I was supposed to bring the challah.)
5:35 PM - I call the friend who I was supposed to take home from Lakewood and tell her I'm not coming. She's is quite distraught.
5:40 PM - The frum man behind me is telling his friend on the phone about a woman he met on Jdate (purposely leaving out all kinds of incriminating details, because I'm nice). I remind myself why, if you must talk on your cell phone while on the bus, it's important not to speak so loudly. It could end up on a blog.
5:45 PM - Around the Meadowlands now. Still creeping. Am sharing rolled eyes with the black guy standing up in the aisle in regards to the guy who is having his way-too-loud-for-public phone conversation.
5:50 PM - The bus driver decides he is tired of the traffic and pulls off the normal route and heads through Rutherford. We passengers are quite relieved.
5:55 PM - The bus is barreling through Rutherford on its way towards Passaic.
5:57 PM - I call my friend in Lakewood. She tells me she managed to get challahs right as the bakery closed. When the person working there gave her a hard time for being so late, she explained that her challah was stuck in traffic
6:00 PM - A minute to Passaic. The winner of the pool collects his $15.
6:03 PM - Almost a complete 2 hours after we boarded, Sara K and I get off the bus.
6:08 PM - I drop Sara K off at Ephraim's mommy's house. (I skipped the part where Ephraim's mommy has already called twice wondering where we were, because she couldn't believe that we were still on the bus.)
6:12 PM - I drive up to my apartment, race inside to get the place ready for Shabbos, since I didn't clean up beforehand, not expecting to be there.
6:43 PM - Candlelighting in Passaic. Phew. What an adventure.
1) If going to Lakewood for Shabbos, make sure you have a LOT of time to get there.
2) People from Cleveland rock. (That's for Ezzie, and Jack.) I was already, but am now even moreso, a huge fan of Ephraim's mommy.
3) Sara K is MacGyver.
4) Don't talk so loud on your cell phone in the middle of a bus.