I remember when Tuolumne the town got its stoplight. It was a pretty big deal. I used to be able to leave Summerville High School and make it home with only stopping at a handful of stop signs. But when Black Oak Casino got rolling, a stoplight was put in to help entice traffic to make a left instead of continuing straight.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the stoplight because, at the time, I worked at Pizza Plus, which was the only non casino place in Tuolumne to eat. The stoplight went in only a few hundred feet before the pizza parlor entrance. I was worried that we’d lose business because fewer cars would drive by and see our neon “open” sign.
Needless to say, I’ve always lived in a small town. Even now, the lovely Mrs. Dossi and I live in Oakdale, where a traffic jam is having to wait a few extra minutes to get to where you need to be. That doesn’t mean that I’ve never been in a big city, as I’ve visited San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and others. But recently, I was introduced to what exactly a big city truly is.
The lovely Mrs. Dossi and I took a much-needed vacation and part of that involved visiting New York City. To say that I was a fish out of water in the Big Apple was an understatement. As we drove into the city, it took nearly an hour and a half to travel eight miles. The driving was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I was white-knuckling it at 10 and two every inch I drove. It truly is survival of the fittest when you are behind the wheel; only the strong survive.
Once we arrived at our hotel, I vowed to not drive again for the rest of our stay in NYC. While we were there, we did all the natural tourist things. We saw a Yankees game, visited the Empire State Building, went to the Statue of Liberty, toured Ground Zero and hit up Times Square. But seemingly every step I took, there was someone to my left, right, front and back. Again, it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.
I enjoyed all the things we saw and places we went. One day, we walked over 10 miles because it’s cheaper than Uber. I will admit, there is plenty to see and do in NYC and we didn’t have the ability to see it all. I can see why people think it’s the greatest city in the world, especially when you are looking at the skyline from the top of the Empire State Building or from a boat heading out to Ellis Island.
But seeing the city in my rearview mirror might have been just as memorable. For as much as I enjoyed seeing all that New York had to offer, there’s only so much traffic, noise and people that I can handle. The rest of our trip was delightful and we made plenty of memories. But nothing beats driving back into your hometown, getting out of your car and hearing nothing but the crickets.
Dorothy said it best: “There’s no place like home.”