Prior to the panic I experienced upon discovering I am to be a Leader of Meetings (see below), I drove to work. Driving to work is worth mentioning because it always depresses me. I'm not going to kill myself or anything, but the time spent between my apartment and my job nearly always bums me out.
I live about eleven miles away from my office. There are basically three different routes which I may use, and they all take about twenty minutes. The one with the least congestion is the most out of the way. The one that is a little shorter is rife with cops, stoplights and the occassional horse trailer convoy. The most direct one has the thickest traffic and biggest stretches of construction. It is this combination that shrouds my day in gloomy frustration.
I'm sure that every moderately large city is plagued with bad traffic, but in Fort Worth, unfinished road maintenance is such a salient feature that it might as well be mentioned in the city's tourist literature. It's probably not as bad as I make it out to be, but it is for me because the areas which I normally frequent end up squeezing cars into one lane. As if this weren't annoying enough, these areas have the country's (allegedly) most poorly-timed stoplights at every block. As far as I'm concerned, Fort Worth traffic is an ordeal on par with flying standby at Christmas.
Today, however, was especially bad. I don't know if it was because I went to work earlier (what a nice reward for trying to get a head start, right?), but the lines of non-moving cars made me want to yank my eyelashes out. So I went a different way. In the process, I became the idiot that you yell at for pulling out at the wrong time and almost t-boning you. Know why? Because I pulled out at the wrong time and almost t-boned this guy in an Acura. As he will probably be telling it for the rest of the week, I was that "idiot in this shitty white-trash van" who continued into a four-way intersection that only had two stop signs. And of course, because I wore flip flops today, I got hung up on the gas pedal and nearly missed stopping in time. And then, when I slammed on the brakes, a hail of change spilled out of the overhead sun visor and onto my head. It's what I imagine hanging a leprechaun upside and shaking it would be like. Or, every day for Super Mario.
Between the excitement of my near miss and roadblocks the traffic and orange cones, I half-expected Lee Van Cleef waiting for me at the office. "We'd make a great team, Steve," he'd say.
I'd light a cigar, give him an icy stare and hiss,
"Call me Plissken."