I write like a nomad in fast forward. I can never sit for more than an hour and a half without having to change locations to clear my mind, and that has introduced me to Northern Virginia’s famed attraction: traffic.
My commute to work is normally on the metro. It takes about 35 minutes, 10 of which are on foot and the rest is either on the train or waiting for it. I suppose that is a relatively normal commute for city living, but I’m always moving so it doesn’t seem so bad. Here, at Dunkin Donuts (mmmm, donuts), on my first day of writing full-time, I had time to reflect on the experience of driving during the workday. It took me about as long to get here as it does to work, except it is only two miles away.
Stop. Drive forward 10 feet. Screech to a stop. Bolt forward ten feet again. Stop suddenly. Prepare to drive forward only to have some guy in a Ford Expedition slam his metal fortress at high speed into the impossibly small space that has opened up between me and the car ahead of me. Inch forward into the intersection only to stop again. Wait. 3 inches forward. Wait. The light turns yellow. Start looking around for options to bail out but see none – its too late to squeeze in a right turn.
The light tuns red.
I’m a calm person. I enjoy meditation and yoga. I even lived in a Buddhist monastery in Japan for a week just to see what it was like.
But boy do I understand Samir from Office Space when I’m in traffic like this. “Fck! sht! ass! ass! yak! rutabega! pencil sharpener!” I want to scream at the top of my lungs, punching the steering wheel in a blind rage until my horn gives out.
Maybe I’ll ram my car into an old lady’s sedan, just so she knows that Northern Virginia traffic is all her fault. But instead I sigh and smile apologetically, mouthing the word “Sorry” to the driver on my right, who is honking his horn because I’m stuck in the middle of the intersection. And I turn up C-SPAN radio to hear what the Judiciary Committee has to say about the attorney firings.