Alex in Transit(ion)

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The Adventures of Alex and Brian: Jersey Driver.

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If the Most Interesting Man in the World says it, it has to be true. Even if it’s a Microsoft Paint manipulated image. I should really keep my photo editing skills a secret. Who knows, maybe someone will make out big with them and put money in the bank. 

Eh, that’s probably not going to happen.

Alright! Story time! I guess if there’s anything I’ve learned in my eighteen year friendship with Brian is that we tend to get ourselves into shenanigans that typically…don’t happen to many people.

The task was simple enough. I had to pick up my rental car, head to Albany, and pick up Brian at 6 so we could venture back home to Sullivan County. When I arrived at Enterprise Rent-A-Car (they really do pick you up!), they gave me the keys





(insert the da da dunnnnn music)

Why should this matter to me? After all, a car is a car is a car right? Usually that is the rule- but everyone knows that the Toyota vs. Honda rivalry is as hot as the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry. Both Toyota and Honda owners are fiercely loyal to their cars. Both owners will drive their cars until the odometer runs out of miles but that’s only similarity. You’ll never see a Toyota owner fawn over a Honda and vice versa. The line is drawn in the sand and we dare not to cross it…

Unless you receive a Civic for a rental car and you don’t have any other options. I would have been fine with a Ford, Mazda, Chevy, or a Nissan but that wasn’t in the cards for me. This is also the second time I’ve received a rental car with Jersey plates which I’m a big fan of…for the fact that if my driving’s a little subpar that day, it’s alright, my car has Jersey plates on it! Every other car with NY plates expects me to be a bad driver anyway, might as well live up to the image. No one let me get away with anything when I had a Toyota Corolla rental car with Virginia plates on back in May 2009. 

As with any car, you have to give it a name. My roommate Zara named my Rav4 the Tyrannosaurus Rav and it has stuck ever since. I just received a Honda Civic though. With Jersey Plates. It was only natural for me to name this car David Paterson. 

However, I noticed something a little off about the car and it wasn’t because it was a Honda. The tire pressure light was on. I told my Enterprise rep about it but he said it was probably because of the weather messing around with the sensors. As I was driving along the Northway, the car was shaking a little bit which was odd to me. One of my best friends has a Honda Civic and I always remembered the ride being very smooth. I dismissed it and thought it was due to the fact that it was a rental car.

I had a hour to kill before meeting Brian at his apartment so I decided to take a little cruise through Albany. I decided to go down Western Ave from South Lake. All of a sudden, two boys from UAlbany are pointing towards me. I pulled down my window and they said:

“We’re not trying to be assholes, but your tire is flat.”

I thanked them and thought. Shit. This is a rental. I have no idea how to change a tire. When the parents taught me how to drive- well they did just that. They only taught me how to drive. 

I called Brian and he told me that he would walk on over because it turns out that yes, he does know how to change a tire. He told me to pull over to the nearest parking lot because it would be easier to do it there than on the side of the road. I thought I could turn around and go to UAlbany’s downtown campus but it wasn’t going to work out. The nearest parking lot was at the La Salle School. Bri Bri gave it his best shot but he couldn’t jack the car up because the car was so low to the ground. All of a sudden, a student from the La Salle School comes up to us and asks us if we need help. We gladly accepted it however, he couldn’t even jack the car up. His teacher came over to us and brought over his souped up car jack. Finally we were making progress, the car was jacked up, we were taking the bolts off and then we hit a roadblock. 

Apparently Hondas have bolt locks on their tires to prevent people from stealing them. Unfortunately, Saratoga Enterprise was closed by that point so I couldn’t ask them where it was located and we were searching all over the car to find the bolt lock because without it, we couldn’t get the tire off. We almost gave up but then the young 17 year old La Salle student found it in the glove box. Huzzah! We again thought that we were making progress and that we’d have this tire changed in a jiffy!

Well. The car was jacked up. The bolts were off. Yet three strapping young men couldn’t take the tire off the car. We thought that there was a center bolt in the middle of the tire preventing it from getting off. Finally, I decided to call Enterprise Roadside Assistance. They told us that they would be there in 70 minutes. By that time it was 7:00, so we thanked our good samaritans, arranged for our student to get extra credit for doing a good deed, and walked down Western Avenue to search for a place to eat.

Brian suggested D.P. Dough but then I recognized a restaurant called The Ginger Man. Brian and I tried to go there two years ago, right before I left for DC, but it was closed and we went to TGIFriday’s instead. This time it was open! I said “hey man, let’s check it out!”

We walked in and we were the only young kids in there other than the waitstaff. They asked if we had reservations and we said no. I thought that this was going to be one upscale place. I was pleasantly surprised when I went through the menu and saw that their food was reasonably priced! For an appetizer, we ordered Stuffed Mushrooms for $8. They were stuffed with delicious Italian sausage and romano cheese, and had a balsamic glaze drizzled over it. It was delectable.

Then my phone rang and we found that the towing guy came a little bit early. We told the waitress to put our food on hold and I walked back to the parking lot to meet the towing guy. Finally, the mystery was going to be solved!

It turns out that we did everything right. Well, except for thinking that the center bolt had something to do with the tire coming off. Apparently, that holds the axle in place and should never, ever, ever be touched. To remove the tire, we found out that you couldn’t just pull the tire off. You have to kick the tire really hard and then it will come off! After that discovery, the tow guy put the donut on and I was off to The Ginger Man to feast on the Lamb Burger that I ordered.

Yep, I said Lamb Burger. Not Hamburger. For $12, that had to be the best burger I ever ate in my life. I ordered it medium, which was just the perfect temperature. It was topped with tzatziki sauce with radishes, cucumbers, and feta cheese, served on a rosemary foccacia bun. And it only got better with the sweet potato fries. Brian and I determined that we will be back for seconds. 

It wasn’t over yet! We had to go to Albany International Airport and exchange the Civic. Along the way, we were coming up with all the reasons why we hate the Civic. We don’t like how the dashboard takes up half of the car, the blind spots are horrible, and how the car sits so low on the ground. When we got to the counter, we were hoping to exchange it for something better.

As luck would have it, the only car they had in their fleet was another Honda Civic. From Jersey. We groaned in disbelief but what could we do. It’s mine until my car gets out of the shop (March 21st can’t come any sooner). We named it David Paterson’s Second Term. 

We thought the worst was over yet we were still plagued by minor annoyances. Remember when I said that we hated the fact that the car sits so low to the ground? I may be 5’2, but there’s no reason why I have to unbuckle my seatbelt and raise myself up to get a toll ticket. We attempted to get coffee at the New Baltimore exit but by the time we got there, Starbucks was closed. We thought that Kingston would definitely have a Dunkin Donuts open. After all, Oneonta has a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts!

We were wrong. So, so wrong. We tried three different Dunkin Donuts and they all were closed. We found a Stewart’s, which I was more than satisfied with. Back during the campaign days, I always got my coffee from the Stewart’s next to my office. At least during our trek to find DD, we found out that downtown Kingston is very charming! 

We cranked up the Billy Joel and were cruising down 209 until we saw that we had to take a 10 mile detour because half of 209 was flooded out. We should be in the clear after that, right? Nope. It started snowing as soon as we rolled into Sullivan County. 

It only took us six hours, but by 1:30 AM, we finally made it. Unfortunately, I did not receive good news when I got home. 

All I know is that I love you Diesel. And I always will. I just wish I got to say goodbye. ❤ I want the best for you, my friend.

Author: Alex

Hello! My name is Alex but you can call me Alexandra if you're feeling fancy. Here you'll find my adventures about exploring my new city of Hoboken, NJ, scurrying over the Hudson River to NYC, my bicycle excursions, and how I'm learning to embrace in medias res.

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