Musings on the way to work

I have always had a commute of at least an hour for work. I remember justifying in numerous ways over the years (live where you want and work where the money is, that’s motto; I have young children and want them to grow up like I did…..just to name two) but ultimately as I live in a rather expensive state to exist in, commuting is simply an accepted part of life.

I remember in the late 1990’s I was working in Silicon Valley in the blossoming internet or dot com boom. I only lived 50 miles or so from work but due to the horribly limited freeways between home and work and the volume of people trying to get into San Jose it literally took 2 to 3 hours to get to work. We of the clan of the commute used to refer to traveling on the freeway as “getting in line” because that is what it was like. A never ending line of cars headed ti here or there and you waited for your turn to actually get somewhere. I have flashbacks of this time period every time I have to wait in line for anything.

I suppose I should talk to my own therapist about that someday.

While this time period certainly sucked many useful years of my life in the waiting, not to mention permanently destroying my ability to estimate how long it will actually take me to get somewhere, it made for some amazing people watching. I have seen people doing some of the most amazing things as they sat in their cars waiting for their turn to move forward.

I once spent more time along side a man who was shaving, with shaving cream and a legit straight razor. I think that was the first time I saw a razor like that outside of a movie.

I once sat between a man eating a bowl of cereal and a woman knitting with rather large knitting needles. That was a weird day of waiting in line. I think that was the same day I saw a car with a small dog on that little shelf they used to put on the cabin side of the rear window in all cars taking what appeared to be a large poop. That most have been a hard commute for that person but as I recall she didn’t seem to notice.

I count myself as truly lucky these days as my hospital is only five miles from my home. Even with the worst traffic, which these days includes trains, it rarely takes me more than ten minutes to get to or from work. You would think that such a short commute would limit the odd things I witness on my drive. You’d be wrong but I wouldn’t fault you for thinking so.

For example I was at a stop light today when movement from the car to my left caught my eye. I turned and saw a woman holding her cell phone up well above her steering wheel, texting with someone. I was just forming the thought how strange it was that she was holding her phone so high when I again caught an out of place movement by her neck. The woman had a cat on her shoulders like a neck brace and what I kept seeing was the animal’s tail. She had to hold the phone that high to see it as the cat on her shoulders limited her head movement.

I’m not sure where this person worked that she felt compelled to bring her cat with her or why the animal would be at all interested in going but there she was carpooling with her pet.

As odd as this was my most prominent thought was to hope she never gets rear ended on her commute. Even a low speed rear impact will severely injure her per but an impact of significant speed (which does happen from time to time) will integrate the cats body into hers in such a way as to likely end both of their lives.

Strange days indeed…..

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