Random Daily Cubicle Activity #96 – Find the one meandering road that doesn’t have traffic on it and shut down your computer before the road does get traffic on it.
I believe traffic was invented somewhere around 1994. We were ahead of the curve here in Massachusetts and continue to lead in traffic related death every year. Not actual fatalities because the roads are so pot-holed and seeming with traffic that the few that do die during the day did something dumb like stand outside their car and stare at their flat tire on Route 2. No, I’m talking about the flakes of sanity and vitality that fall off you each day like crumbs onto your car floor. So while we admit that we are bad drivers, all of the statistics are rosy and paint us almost in a human light. Its kind of like the statistics you see when you buy a printer and it says it can print up to 50,000 sheets in a month. Then you’re 2,000 sheets in and it’s 6:00 PM on the 29th and the blood is running out of your face only making that red light on the printer console redder.
Most days traffic is like that red light. Yes, there is something that will soothe the stress and make the light go away, but eventually the light will refuse to go off. This mental breakdown probably comes the day your engine light comes on, a five year old just gave you the finger when you tried to pass his minivan, and the highway is merging down to one lane because they’ve been working on the same bridge for seven months while conveniently closing your exit off of the highway.
What do you do to calm yourself down? I turn on the radio and then I hear songs like “Take It Easy” by the Eagles and I want to throw something out the window. Unfortunately somebody’s beat me to the punch and there’s debris in the road that I have to swerve around. My tie and my hair are probably cartoonishly going one direction while the rest of me is going the other. Allow me to regale you with an actual story. Have you ever seen that show I Survived? So I was driving to work one morning down Route 128 which has got to be top ten worst roads in America. I was actually moving that day (it must have been a holiday!) probably close to the speed limit in the passing lane. To the right of me is a box truck. Up ahead of us also in the center lane is one of those sketchy Ford Econoline vans. You know the ones that are all white with the tinted windows in the back. It’s driven by a guy named Uri who doesn’t really work for the company legally. The owner’s mom from one of the former Russian states was like “Here is brother Uri. He needs job to find wife. He drive for you, yes?” So you see these vans every day with something sticking out of the back of the vehicle (which, I guess is better than not knowing what is inside it. Uri’s van had a big rug sticking out the back until the big rug was nestled snuggly in the summer morning air on the pavement of 128. After eleven years Uri might have a job again, but my concern in that moment was that the box truck that I was attempting to pass was torpedoing itself towards this rug at around 60 mph. The best analogy I have for the moment the box truck hit the rug was that it looked like an elephant up on its hind legs. The truck did come back down to put all four tires back on the road, but lets just say the driver left a little more than crumbs on the floor of his truck.
So if you survive your two plus hours on the road each day you’re doing OK. Of course there’s the one person in the office who that’s not good enough for – Dan Direction. He’s the guy that’s lived or crashed on couches in every town in your state. If you’ve got to meet somebody to buy a meat grinder off of Craig’s List Dan will give you directions from the office, from your house, from the nearest Dunkin Donuts. You might not even be sure what Dan does in your office, but he is the reference for directions. Just don’t ask him to fix your commute because it will probably involve you driving through private parking lots, making illegal turns and sitting behind school buses.
There’s also one person in the office who actually has a short commute and yet they seem to be late most days. Why is that? Maybe they got directions from Dan. Who knows?
How can we ignore the most important character for some of us in our daily lives – the carpool buddy? I’m going to reserve this subject for the next blog entry because I’m going to get too fired up and say something I’m going to regret. See, this is what commuting does to you. Take a breath, you made it through another ride. What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen during your commutes?