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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Commuting can be tough.

Last night I left work a little later than usual, we have been busy and things required attention.  It wasn't too late, just a little less than an hour.  It made today, (which was tomorrow then) much less intimidating, and that is good.  But, the freeway that takes me home is a wonderful feat of civil engineering at 4:00 with a smooth flow of traffic, to and from downtown.  At 5:00 it is a little different.

Normally, when I leave on time, it seems like a reunion with old friends.  We all smile and wave as we pass.  And you can actually hear the joyful, melodic whistling from the cars sharing the road, and the afternoon.  Of course, there are traffic jams occasionally at 4:00 (the enchanted hour) but they are short, and friendly.  Normally, just long enough to have a glass of wine with Bob, from the Honda Accord, (Lic. Plate M77242) and Kay from the Lexus GX 460 (Lic. Plate M99753) maybe a few crackers, a bit of cheese, and shared pictures of kids, grand kids, pets, and significant others.  There is hardly enough time to hear about the awful jerk they hired to manage Bret's (Chevy Malibu, Lic. Plate 152452BX) department.  That poor guy has had a bad year, let me tell you, sometimes we bring bourbon for him.  We have actually ordered shirts "The 4:00 PM Commute Crew, Carrying the Cabernet Since 1999."  We are all pitching in to pay for Bret's, poor guy.

At 5:00 it is a different crowd, a different world, really.  Traffic is heavier, people seem to be more aggressive, and when traffic stops it lasts a while, and when it starts things can gets hectic, and hostile.  A 5:00 commute requires nerves of steel, and a certain disregard for life, humanity, and civilization.

Yesterdays commute started well, after merging into traffic, which seemed to be moving right along, I found my way into the lane I wanted, it would exit onto the outer belt, dropping me off a few blocks from home.  Maybe this would not be so bad.

Soon, though, the traffic slowed, and shortly after that it ground to a complete stop.  Oh well, this was what happened on this road, at this time of day, no point in fussing.  Grabbing the phone I found a great song, and soon Richard Thompson and I were jamming to "Cooksferry Queen"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tze2klRR5dA, though, Richard did most of the real rockin' I was just harmony, however, I did throw in a little incidental percussion, occasionally.

After a while, we began to move.  In the car in front of me the driver had decided to make a phone call.  I am not sure who he called, but they were obviously very close.  He was so engrossed in his call he could not go over thirty miles an hour.

Which is a big mistake in that traffic, at that time of day.  People were flying past us, I was too frightened to try to merge, I love my car, and these people were driving with an awful purpose there was no way I was trying to smash my way into that.  After a short time it took a nasty turn.

People started to slow down by the car in front of me, roll down their window, and scream at the driver.  Who was so engrossed in his phone call he didn't even notice.  Then they would speed off.  After a while, people who were stuck behind us became increasingly agitated.  Food was starting to pile up on the roof, as people threw half eaten hamburgers, and burritos at the poor, oblivious driver.


Quickly, it started to resemble a scene from "Mad Max."  A madmaxian scene, if you will.  An Audi sedan pulled up on the passenger side of the car in front of me, and the passenger, a well dressed woman climbed over the seat, and hung out the drivers side rear window, (her wedding dress billowing in the wind) and was hammering away at the top of the phone users car with her shoe.  I think it was a Christian Louboutin "Bianca" ($845.00 on sale at Barney's of New York) until the heel came off, and she threw her champagne glass at the window, which shattered, harmlessly against the tempered glass of the car window.

"This is crazy," I thought, and started to worry about the poor man in front of me.  Sirens, and flashing lights came speeding up behind me, and I thought the driver was saved.  The Sheriff's Deputy pulled up on the driver's side, honked his horn and flipped the guy off, then shut off his lights and sirens, and drove away.

A miraculous thing happened then, the man finished his phone call, and started gaining speed until he had matched traffic, and soon I was home.

"How was your day," my wife asked.

"It was a good day, but the commute was a little stressful."