I drive a lot (for a non-commuter)! I log 52+ miles per day during the week just dropping off and picking up the kids from school. Most of that is getting to and from the boys’ school and almost every day I choose a different route from the day before in an attempt to avoid traffic and arrive as close to on time as possible (which doesn’t ever happen). Today I took the Nassau Boulevard route — which happens to be my favorite. Unfortunately, I don’t take it often because, in my mind, traveling the single lane through Garden City seems to take longer. As we all know perception is reality. So, if I think it’s taking longer — which means I think I’ll be getting the boys to school later — then I’m stressed out during the typically 45+ minute drive. Having timed it, the difference is negligible and fully dependent on the lights and trains and traffic and exact departure time — things that are entirely out of my control — just like all of my other choices.
So, there I am on the Nassau Boulevard route. I pass the school and ask the boys if that’s their school…. “NOOOOOOO. Dat no my ‘chool Mama!” I pass Echo Park and we talk about how there’s no water in the outdoor pools yet and how much we love swimming in the summertime and I recall, in my mind, swimming laps there in my younger days. I stay in the left lane of the “bumpy road” where the higher side streets pass through the median and make the drive like a roller coaster and we say, “WHEEEEEEEE” laughing with every bump. As we pass through GC proper, I can’t help but fondly recall the nights I spent at what used to be The Chop House and another bar we visited during college breaks with my dear friends, Susie Pratt and Valerie MacLeod (these were their stomping grounds). And, even the turn off to Adelphi where the boys attended TOTalk, their first pre-school experience with Cindy, makes me smile. Then, I come to Stewart Avenue. And, suddenly, I feel like I love Stewart Avenue. It’s got some of the grandest houses in Garden City. Majestic and old and beautifully restored. And, that’s when it hit me. I love cruising Stewart Avenue because it reminds me of Ward Parkway in Kansas City. Same wide street. Same grassy median. Same majestic, old homes. For me, gliding down Stewart Avenue brings me back to the 3 wonderful years I spent in Kansas City surrounded by great friends and working the best job I ever had (besides the one I’ve got now as a stay at home mom to my beautiful kids)!
Then it dawned on me… The entire Nassau Boulevard route is like a wonderful drive down memory lane. And, I realize, I often choose my driving routes specifically to reminisce and remember happy times in my past. For years my father insisted that I should turn off Peninsula Boulevard earlier and cut through Rockville Centre to get home quicker. But, I never do. Today, I realized that — besides not agreeing that it’s faster — I love that last strip of Peninsula where the guard rails rise up with the road as it passes Tanglewood Preserve with the lily-padded lake on my left and the woods on my right! It totally reminds me of driving with my cousins and friends in Eddie Martorelli’s green Malibu on the back roads of Connecticut when I was 16. It makes me smile every time! Just like The Chop House and Ward Parkway and Echo Park do.
So, this morning I decided it’s worth the extra 5 minutes I think it takes to drive the Nassau Boulevard route in the morning. I’m hoping the conscious decision to drive down memory lane outweighs the inevitable stress involved in my non-commute each day. Now that I’m aware of the reasons behind why I enjoy that route so much, I hope to be more mindful of it. I’m sure this will change my attitude to one of pleasure and gratitude, relieving me of the daily stress of choosing a route and making it even more fun to take a drive down memory lane.