Traffic: We Meet Again


The rugrats are back in school. Mom and Dad finally get to stop the camp/babysitter madness and get on the road to work at their normal hour. Vacationers have returned, tanned and ready for the 8 a.m. commute.

Yeah, thanks a lot. Summertime traffic was fabulous and it just ended. I commute 30 miles to work. After you plug that into the San Francisco Bay Area time/distance/season algorithm, it comes to a 40-minute drive in the summer and a 60-minute journey the rest of the year. Sure, there are worse commutes. I used to have a 90-minuter that I’m still in anger management for. But it doesn’t matter what your commute is: Once you’ve tasted the sweet summer breeze as you fly down 880, you’re hooked. It’ll be months before I forget that golden era.

There are interesting points to being stuck in interminable traffic. You can count the nose pickers, for instance. And sometimes you see the same people repeatedly, like Crucifix Guy. He’s a guy who drives around in a white pickup truck with those white wooden T-shaped posts for real estate signs. Except hanging out of the back of his truck they look like crosses. I like him. There are people who still ignore the hands-free phone law. I am nothing if not a stickler for rules, so if I’m in a bad mood I’ll shake my head and grumble to myself as if they might possibly care what I think. This week the tension got to me and I laid into my horn after a guy nearly sideswiped me. I was out of practice–it’s not Californian to honk. We prefer to instead hold our anger in until it explodes in a sniper-esque road rage battle.

But as I was saying, there are make-up appliers, text messagers, baby entertainers, the works. It’s kind of fun to guess as you come up to a car what the person driving will be wearing or doing. Woman in a Camry, wearing a cobalt blue button-down, drinking Starbucks. It’s like Clue. Sometimes you get a fun surprise, like when the man in the Ford truck is wearing a baseball cap but shockingly has his window rolled down and is belting out a Celine Dion tune. True story. Plus, when you travel at 10 miles per hour and you pass by a dead raccoon, you really get a good look. Oh come on, like you don’t rubberneck when you see roadkill.

Mostly traffic is horrendous. It stresses me out, it uses up barrels of oil and there are about 1,000 things I’d rather be doing than trying to avoid rear ending some carpool. But hey, it’s life. Make the best of it. Ooh, maybe I can file my nails while I drive tomorrow.

TRAFFIC BINGO: You know the rules. When you get ’em all, scream Bingo! If you have a sunroof, try to stand up and stick your head out.

Toothpick action Dead squirrel Reading
Painting fingernails Eating bagel Car-vibrating bass
Asleep Texting Making out
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One response to “Traffic: We Meet Again

  1. I’ve done the 40+ minutes commute. My commute is now about 2-3 minutes, depending on the one stoplight I have to go through. I’ll never go back to the dark side.

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