March 28, 2004

It was Friday

The traffic was little more than a standstill at that point. I cranked up the Vivaldi on the stereo, flicked the smoldering remains of my cigarette out of the sunroof, and leaned back against my seat.

Out of habit I glanced into the rearview. I found that the bloated, SUV-driving almost-an-executive behind me was shaking his head at me in disgust. I crooked a smile at the ironic thought of modern pollution inducers and what truly affected what. I lit another cigarette and smiled at him. I didn't really want the cigarette, and perhaps I lit it to catch up to his personal cancer machine in the race to devastate our air supply. Perhaps the reason was of a baser nature.

He shook his head again in disgust, but turned away shortly after he met my eyes in the mirror. No torture in creation could ever match up to a plain deadpan stare. At least, not in this lifetime. My smoke billowed up into the afternoon light, and eventually the nemesis behind me disappeared, but only from thought. He was still there, but the idiotic thoughts of his hypocrisy were gone. And to me, that made him nonexistent.

Up ahead, the traffic moved a few inches forward. Like any good ant, I followed suit.

Through the wind, and through the music, my watch ticked. Another second gone, and another second to go. Forever repeating the same mindless stares, watching the same droll individuals, waiting for the same hard-earned meter, the same... The same.

And here, in between the seconds, in between breaths and glances and minds, I wandered. I leaned in-wards, smoke obscuring my view, and wandered the hallways. We, foolish mortals we are, put ourselves in such a position of wasted time, wasted resources, wasted minds. Hours spent staring at the bumper ahead, hoping for another meter, wishing death on the lawbreaker/accidentmaker/roadripper who was surely laughing heartily at our misfortune. I wondered what was stopping any one of us from slamming into the traffic, rushing angrily through the cars, and plowing them to the side as one does to snow. Why were we all here, now, in this terrible circumstance that should not be grudgingly accepted.

Just to get home to the wife, the dog, the two-point-five children. Body plastered onto the couch, plastic device hardwired into the hand, cathode tubes wired into the eyes, and a song and a sigh to follow.

Or a trip to the alcohol vending building where other nameless faces shout at each other because beer causes temporary deafness. At the very least, it causes temporary stupidity. Or so they say.

Or a visit with the mistress, the lover, the loss of loyalty. With promises of new lives at the cost of lives left behind. And some roses to ease the idea along. Maybe it was just a condom.

Or just to get that birthday present to a special daughter, who hates it when daddy is late. (And daddy is late all the fucking time) She doesn't understand traffic, it seems.

Or, perhaps, to sit in solitude amongst a sea of faces. To collect thoughts, to smoke cigarettes, and to piss off strangers.

Perhaps, perhaps. Who really knows?