It’s 5 a.m.
It’s is, as the poet says, “black as the pit”. Dark…cold…nasty. A good morning to just hit the snooze, or better yet turn the alarm off completely and roll over.
You do that little shiver dance on your way from the bed to the shower. You do it again when you get out of the shower, cold…and wet.
Chug down something with caffeine in it, take a vitamin, and head out the door. No time for breakfast. You’re running a few minutes late.
There is ice on the porch, the steps, the sidewalk. You slow down just a bit and shift your weight. It would definitely not be cool to be splayed out on the sidewalk at 5 a.m.!
You jump in the car. There’s ice on the window. Damn! Been meaning to buy that scraper… Now you have to sit there another 10 minutes while the car warms up so the defrost will melt the windshield! The clock is ticking.
Finally you can see! You start out of the driveway. The tires slip a bit. The car shifts sideways for just a split second. “Probably just these back roads”, you say to yourself.
It’s a couple of miles to the big main road. You drive carefully, mindful of the back roads being slippery. The clock is still ticking, and now you’re really running behind.
You finally make it down to the on-ramp for the interstate. There’s a line. Traffic is moving slow. “Now what!”, you exclaim. But there’s nothing to be done about it. You must simply wait your turn.
As you round the curve on to the interstate you see the problem. Two cars wrecked on one side of the road. A car and a tractor trailer sit off on the shoulder on the other side. Multiple police cars with lights flashing attend both accidents. Clearly, the roads are a bit slippery…
You inch along past the accident until the traffic breaks free. Finally! Finally, you can get moving!
You whip over in to the left lane and ride right up on the rear end of the guy in front of you. Traffic is staggered and going about 60 mph. There is a small gap between the car to the right of you and the car in front of him. Not enough for you to fit through though, so you sit behind this guy, stupidly going 60 in the left hand lane, and drum your fingers on the steering wheel in frustration.
Man are you going to be late!
Brake lights flicker on and off across all the lanes at different intervals. What the hell is wrong with these people? Don’t they know how important it is that you get to work on time? There is a meeting first thing this morning, and you have to be there!
The guy to the right of you taps his brakes. The gap between him and the the car in front of him widens another couple of feet. There’s your shot! You can get fully 15 feet ahead of your current position by dangerously whipping over between two cars on a dark, icy morning! And so you do.
Jerking the wheel over shifts the car’s weight on the road. The wheels hit a slippery patch. You’re in the other lane now! But you’re facing the wrong direction… and still spinning. The sudden move catches the guy beside you unaware and he rams in to you, speeding your rotation. You come fully around and hit the car in the right lane, knocking them off the side of the road.
All in all five cars, including your own are involved. The two right lanes are blocked, as is the shoulder. Your car is all messed up. You don’t know it yet but 3 of the other people in the cars involved are injured. All of them are going to sue you. Your insurance company is about to get a lot of phone calls…and you are about to get dropped. You’re going to miss your meeting. In fact, you’re going to miss the whole day.
Behind you traffic begins to back up as 3 lanes of traffic try to squeeze by in one lane. And in that traffic jam…I sit. Drumming my fingers on the steering wheel in frustration. Shaking my head.
So…you’re late. I’m late. Thousands of people are late.