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April 16, 2011

Driving and To Do's

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

(Reposted from

It amazes me on days like today when I wake up so focused and energized even though I didn’t get enough sleep. Getting up today, I was ready to tackle my imaginary ‘to do’ list — imaginary since I had not written it down or typed into the computer. My brain jotted down a number of items that needed to get done and at the early hour of 5:45am, I started knocking them off the list. Of course, the list is longer than I would like to admit, but at least I have a list.

And yes, blog writing was on it.

After clearing off a number of at-home to do’s, I decided to go out for breakfast. When I woke up this morning, I was happy that I wasn’t nauseous. Regularly the day after chemo, I wake up feeling sick to my stomach. Thankfully, that was not today. I went to the Garden Cafe here in New Milford, had my one cup of coffee, ate an omelet with green peppers and onions, and head on out. Driving along in Paramus, my to do list came into my mind and I knew I needed a groceries and household items for home and something for tomorrow’s post-church Coffee Hour. Since I was near the BJ’s warehouse store, I pulled into the parking lot to go shopping.

The first thing I had to do was renew my membership — I let it lapse last year. Walking up to the Customer Service desk, the agent told me that I could have just renewed at a register. But since I stood online, she gave me the special the club was running – $40 for fourteen months’ instead of $50 for twelve months. Taking the special and pocketing the savings, I grabbed a cart and walked around. First, I went to get the things I needed at home: garbage bags (I was down to 1), spinach (getting the larger baby spinach bag for less than $3 at BJs was a lot more cost effective than paying $3 for a small bag at the supermarket), and Fiber One snack bars (at $6.59 for twenty instead of $2.49 for five in the local supermarket). And my mind, checking off the to dos as I went along, reminded me to get what we needed at church: Half and Half, doughnuts, and muffins.

Driving home on Route 4, I nearly got into an accident. Someone “merging” onto the roadway failed to see that he needed to Yield and missed my a tiny bit. Of course, the “nice driver” was screaming in the car behind me. He even stuck his finger up at me. Oh, was I tempted to respond in kind. Instead, I just slowed down … slowed down even more … down to about 20 MPH, and with the inability to move over into the center lane, he was furious. I pulled off at Hackensack Avenue laughing at him as he screamed in his car.

I think he should have had a decaf this morning.

Or he should have reviewed his rules of the road, something I think I need to do since I violated a rule or two slowing down to well below the speed limit.

But this wasn’t the only driving issue I got into this week. On Friday, after coming back from my chemotherapy treatment, I decided to go visit a brother clergy person in Closter, NJ. He wasn’t in the church, so I ended up going to K-Mart (needed kitchen curtains) and to Starbucks for a green tea frappaccino that I failed to get in the city. As I was coming back to New Milford, I remembered I needed to stop off in Dumont, so I drove down Washington Avenue. As I was passing Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, I drove behind a delivery truck. It wasn’t moving very fast, but it was going the speed limit.

I pulled up behind him and then slowed up a tad to where there was about 5 yards between us. Moving a little closer after coming up to the traffic light at Madison, I was feeling the effects of the chemo just a bit. I was getting tired. But I needed to get this pastoral errand run before I could go off and take a nap. As traffic started moving, a woman in a black Kia behind me “beeped.” I looked in my mirror and she was “pushing me along.” Confused since we were both behind a slow delivery truck, I ignored her. A moment later, she beeped again and was waving more enthusiastically.

Now, I am not a NASCAR driver and there was no way I was going to go bumper-to-bumper with a delivery truck. So I ignored her again and stayed, conservatively, about five yards away. Going through the traffic light near the new Walgreens, she beeped again and was now furious. The truck wasn’t driving fast since we just starting moving, and I was still at my five yards behind the truck. She opened her window and clearly said something really not nice. I could hear her since my window was open and she had a big mouth…and apparently, she was driving very close to me. Driving a little way further, we got to a red light … and cop signaled to me and her to pull over.

The cop came up and apologized to me for having me pull over. He said the woman was going a little nutty in her car and she was going to get a ticket for driving too close to me. He just wanted to apologize for her comments, calling me “Father” several times during the conversation. I thanked him and went on my merry way.

I guess the best lesson to learn is: If you are from New York and you don’t know where the police station is, then be careful about your driving because New Jersey’s Finest will get you every time.

Well, that’s it for now. I have to get the church ready for tonight and tomorrow (you do know we celebrate Palm Sunday tonight and tomorrow at Saint Matthew’s, don’t you?).


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