Monday, November 29, 2010

Homeward bound

It's dark now as I make my way out of the building after work and head to my vehicle. I don't mind the cooler weather fall brings, but the early nightfall, I could do without. Another nondescript day of work like so many before it, gone by the wayside. Another day, another dollar, they say.

I hop into the driver's seat of my metal and plastic mode of transport after throwing my laptop case in the back seat. I have my iPod, but decide to see what the talking heads of drive-time AM sports talk have in store for me first. What else - NFL talk. The NFL dominates the sports landscape during its off season, so it's no surprise the topic of conversation 24-hours-a-day while games are actually being played.

I reach for my iPod and then stop, realizing I just spent most of the day with my headphones on, listening to music supplied by the wonderful little device we all take for granted now. NFL talk it is.

The mostly empty parking lot is now in my rear-view mirror as I navigate out of the sea of office and industrial buildings. I reach the street where I used to make an illegal left turn to save five or so minutes. I make a right, as I have every other time since a co-worker got a ticket. That was over a year ago. Five minutes is not worth sullying my near-prefect driving record.

My office is at the top of a hill, so I make my way down, ears popping from the sudden change in altitude. The talking heads switch their discussion to college football and the BCS, a brief respite from the deluge of NFL-related chatter.

The 5 freeway comes into view as I continue my descent. By the looks of the red and white lights blurring by in the distance, it seems to be moving nicely. It should, it's not a Friday after all.

I head up the on-ramp and onto the asphalt and concrete conveyor belt that will take me to my next stop. The lights weren't lying, traffic is moving just fine. A small seam in the non-stop flood of white headlights behind me opens and I pounce on my brief window of opportunity to make it to the far left lane - the "fast lane," which is often a misnomer on Southern California freeways.

The far left lane is my preference more so for the peace of mind it provides me than the minute or two it may shave from my drive home. You see, in the far left lane I only need to worry about dipshit drivers to my right. Sure, you get a rogue dipshit cutting you off from the carpool lane every now and then, but those are few and far between.

A week or so ago, this first part of the drive came with a little perk - a pretty fantastic view of the sun setting behind the hills of Dana Point and Laguna Niguel. Now, this happens while I'm still sitting in my chair at work, so all I'm treated to is grays and violets forming a solemn backdrop over the winding river of red and white lights.

Just past the Ortega Highway exit a bunch of high-voltage power lines cross above the freeway. They must be high-voltage because whenever I pass under them, I'm given a staticky reprieve from the AM talking heads. It's usually around this time I clumsily fumble with my iPod to end my nightly NFL-talk session. Tonight is no different.

Shuffle Songs brings up a song I heard earlier in the day so I skip it, discarding it back to the digital scrap heap where it has 5,114 friends to keep it company. Song number 2 is a keeper, thankfully. Shuffle Songs can be a fickle beast. While there isn't anything on my iPod I technically don't like, there are plenty of songs I don't want to listen to at any given time. I have the same trouble with Playlists. Yes, Playlists I make myself. I really need an iPod that can read my mind. Get on that, Steve Jobs.

As my exit draws near I begin my gradual migration right. I despise drivers that wait until the last possible nanosecond before swerving across two lanes of traffic to get to their off-ramp. I wish anal warts upon these people. These are the people that cause the majority of traffic accidents. Fuck these people.

Another six miles and ten minutes or so, and I'm home. Just another drive home like the thousands before it and hopefully, the many thousands more to come.

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