11 May


“But be quick this offers expires on Friday…The latest and greatest from Britney Spears …The problem with this country…dearly beloved we are gathered.” 

My finger skips from silver button to silver button as I seek audible satisfaction – browsing through the channels, ever optimistic of discovering a blast from the past. A three-chord-masterpiece with a drum beat that will make me shake my head till my fillings drop out. Sick of commercialism and the abject penury of talent I peruse the airwaves in the hope that I will be proven wrong – that something out there in the ether is worth the effort. 

It’s not just about driving – commuting is a multi-tasking exercise that’s demands split second timing, coupled with an ambidextrous ability worthy of a Chinese circus performer. The subtleties of texting, calling, station hopping whilst eating, drinking, and excavating ones nose all add to its inherent complexities. 

I curse the car in front of me, carefully considering the three hundred dollar H.O.V. encroachment fine as a viable option, rather than remaining behind the dawdling aged-wanderer whose only object in life is to make mine miserable. Fortunately the driver is telepathic or has the hearing of the bat, and slowly moves out of my lane. I’m free to go, the highway is mine. There’s nothing between me and the horizon, thirty more minutes of commuter hell and I’ll be home. 

My tormentor slowly switches lanes, regardless of oncoming traffic, and heads for the far side of the highway. What is he smoking? Given the recent change in Arizona law it could be anything. Mary-Jane may dull the pain but it does nothing to enhance addled and impaired octogenarian driving skills. Horns blow, lights flash and fingers are waved, yet the manic-motorist-on-a-mission still heads for the hard-shoulder. His vehicle mounts the banked escarpment, smashes through the A.D.O.T. greenery, carefully planted by one of Sherriff Joe’s chain-gangs, and disappears in a cloud of dust. Onwards and upwards he emerges on the other side of the nebulous dirt. The gradient is steep and sooner or later Newton’s second law has to kick in. The car tips, rolls over and comes to a dirt shoveling stop. 

Bloody hell! What just happened? 

One minute I’m cursing the man, the next he’s involved in a possibly fatal accident. Was it me? Do I have the power or was it really natural selection? Now I’m concerned – much as I refuse to believe in the bearded man in the clouds he has an odd way of showing his hand every now and then. I return to flicking through the channels, finally opting for Britney. What the hell, after you’ve heard it twenty times it sort of grows on you! 

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, discounted the obvious and ignored the rediculum life throws you a curve ball. I’m prepared to believe in the Loch Ness Monster, it’s been reported since the 14th century, and UFO’s are so well documented that they built a special area to house them. Mayan pyramid builders and Antikytheraian watch makers don’t hold a candle to the super natural ability of the modern driver to prove the unbelievable is not only probable but also very possible. What scientists and physicists have proved beyond a shadow of doubt, and Einstein verified while skipping shoe-lace tying lessons, clearly doesn’t count and can be disregarded. When it seems beyond imagination and nobody can surmount the impossible the errant motorist usually does. Usually of course there’s a price to pay. Although achieving notoriety on the evening news there momentary brilliance is often buried with them. 


A week later finds me parked under a bridge – same road, different traffic jam. By now I know all the words to Britney’s song and indulge myself by turning up the volume and belting out the lyrics – poorly written, badly executed, but unfortunately now ingrained. 

We are helpless against the assault of mediocrity its insidious tentacles entwining and seeping into all that is wholesome and good. To be honest there really isn’t that much choice it’s either her or her clone or the country channel. I decide to stick with Britney. 

As my voice cracks and I contemplate swallowing the plastic Jesus on my dashboard imagining suicide preferable to the interminable wait while A.D.O.T. removes a chest of drawers from the highway, the world once again turns upside down and inside out. Back in the illusory world ofAlice mayhem takes  hold and chaos gains control. 

A vehicle on the fly-over above us decides to plummet over the railing and crash to the ground. Turned turtle and surrounded by a sea of glass the automotive cockroach just lies there and bleeds oil. I thankfully turn my attention from Britney disbelieving what I’ve just seen. Fellow motorists are already climbing out of stranded cars to investigate. I’ve heard of pennies from heaven but never geo-metros! 

The object formally known as automobile has cratered itself into the asphalt and judging from the burst paint and creased body-panels will never walk again. The car is surrounded by onlookers and would-be Samaritans. Just before they can lend assistance a man crawls through the space where the windscreen used to be his arm in the air. I imagine he’s telling everybody that it’s just a scratch, a mere flesh wound, or some other python-esque supplication. 

Suddenly the traffic starts to move and helpers rush back to their vehicles – the pilot and his un-flying machine left forgotten and abandoned to fend for himself. If its isn’t strange enough that a chest of drawers complete with a full set of clothing is strewn all over the highway, a crushed car laying on its roof in the opposite lane is now just a mere distraction. 

The brake lights flicker on the car in front. I re-engage the gear stick and disengage brain. 

Back to the joys of commuter steerage and the fact that nothing ever happens on the way to work. If I came through the tunnel to see an iceberg with a full complement of uniformed penguins I’m sure I would find it equally mundane.


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