In my commute to work, which includes a route 9 that those in the Hudson Valley Poughkeepsie area here know well and loathe I do my best to skirt as much of it as possible and even Route 9D, which is part of the run. I hop on a road that goes behind the Mall on this Route 9 at the first chance it affords. It’s not a short cut, probably adds a minute or two actually, but it allows me to wind my may slowly through suburbia avoiding all of the traffic lights and the stop starts that brings and avoid all the possible stupid of a busy roadway and morning commute rushers. Though, not shorter it is definitely more serene and quiet, less choked … and it’s pretty. I like that quiet and that pretty. I’m not going to start days idiot stressed if I can get around it right? It also takes me past a little neighborhood deli, a genuine one, the Channingvile Deli, a one that actually sits right in the middle of a neighborhood. I’m not quite a “Norm!” there but they know me, even the owner gives a nod. They offer me smiles when I walk in, say “Hi” with recognition, start conversation, make laughter and know of what just might be on “today’s order” agenda. I’m pretty predictable and they know this predictable. There’s a joy and a comfort in that.
Or I order early these days, from my phone while traveling this dreaded Route 9 and it’s forest of traffic lights so I can just mask, pay and roll, no possibly waiting with people, a product of the times. Sometimes a bologna and cheddar, depending on the wallet or the number of beers I had the night before, with spicy mustard and banana peppers for a face wake, plus it’s the perfect heavy to hit the belly like the necessary post beer brick fill up it needs to be or maybe a simple Steve classic of Turkey and Roast beef and Swiss with tomato and Mayo and a little salt and pepper. But with either order they know that it’s me, though I’ve been told my voice can give me away.
Then there is a second “shortcut” in the ride, also not really a shortcut, but one that helps avoid a bit of that next step, Route 9D, and a one that provides the most beautiful of vistas. The first time I took it it was more a just this shit has to come out somewhere I recognize huh? A suburban exploring of possible options. I don’t often take this extra stray off the main path in the morning, no beautiful vistas can be appreciated on the way to work, but I definitely take it on the way home as it’s another serene and quiet alternative, if only for a couple of miles, but it has one feature that I look forward to on a daily basis after a lot of days that could use just such a thing. It has a sort of “rollercoaster” hill, a long upward climb up a not too drastic but steady incline where you can almost hear an old coaster’s ‘clack-clack-clack’ to a last short, steeper rise to the top, and, after putting BB in neutral as I have just enough speed, I allow the ‘clack-clack-clack’ to take me the rest of the way, I even lean forward as if to look over the edge ahead of reaching it and get ready for the silly arms up in the air and then … the most magnificent view of the Hudson and the hills across it (where we live here in this Dutchess County area, the Hudson River is a constant).
It’s a want to stop moment, a breathtaking scenic overlook on a road trip, a break out the camera with a loved one for it as the background, a moment to take that breath. It’s only just seconds before, with BB still in neutral, I head down the now much steeper decline on the other side (noting my breaks might be an issue soon). But there is a top of the world feel to that peak that is hard to describe, though I try here, poorly. There are also the majestic lawns on the down. Though I don’t have any shots of that vista from the top, not all that safe on a blind rollercoaster hill to just stop right there, I do have a few of these wonderful perfectly manicured lawns that roll quietly just to my left with BB’s neutral glide. Don’t know what they are a part of, of what manor, but they give me eyed pause in this glide. A bit easier to pull over for a moment a few feet down from that roller coaster’s blind.
I see an elephant in this center rock by the way. Or maybe it’s his mouse.
I’ll pass him or he will pass me, a coworker, before my detour while he continues on 9 and he’ll mention later that he got to work before me, a sort of game to prove the validity of your commute choices. A one I don’t play. I will gladly lose every time. I will gladly take to the views and rules of suburbia, if only for a bit, a slow ride’s moment before another day. Remember my own suburbia, Mom and Dad, Beck and Nick, where I wished, even as a kid, that people would just slow down and not just because of our outdoor roaming cats. Just a please slow.
I’ll always take and enjoy suburbia’s pretty and comfortable laze when I can, no matter where I may find myself, while minding cars backing, maybe early morning children lacking sight, pets who might alight, squirrels who take quick sprint flight … and mind perfect vistas and rolling lawns at the top of and then down of a roller coaster hill’s height when a day is done.