Stream of Consciousness Commute

“Joe, I’ve had enough fun for one day. I’m bugging out. You coming in tomorrow?”

Keep my lunch bags out of view. Behind my briefcase. Black with orange piping. Got it in Houston. Best Buy. Great trip. Sorry I miss out on it next week.

“Uh, no.”

“Then I will see you week after next.”

I get to go again in September, though.

“Yeah. Have a good vacation.”

Not after this vacation, but my other one.

Rena is at her desk.

“Seeya. We will talk more tomorrow. Have a good night.”

Oh, my arms. My legs. Burning a little. What to listen to on the way home? Music? Or my lectures? Let’s get hip with today’s new music. The Top 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week. 7260 steps today and a peak heart rate of 90. Attach mount to phone, mount phone to air vent, clutch, first gear and I’m on my way. Ugh. Socks are wet. Oh, looks like the paving they did during shutdown didn’t take so well – there are already divots from the downpour this afternoon.
Sorry Not Sorry was one of those that played this weekend and Elena said it had bad language. Meh. Not so bad. Skip. Skip. Oh? Who’s Jack Johnson? Has a folksy pop feel to him. Not bad. Kinda like it. Skip. Skip. Coldplay? Nope. Not even. Nine Inch Nails? Man, haven’t listened to them in forever. Hurt is a great song, but Johnny Cash took it for his own. Didn’t Trent Reznor cry when he heard Cash’s version?

Whup! Gotta do ramp speed, Rob. Maybe a little faster. Feels better now. Shifting okay. These are great tires. Think of Josh every time. Hope my shoes under my desk don’t smell. Should bring Febreeze to work. Third gear, forty five hundred rpm, doing about eighty. Shoulder does hurt just a little. Why do I always lean to the right on these tight curves? Sit up straight, shift into fourth, fifth, sixth and settle into the outside lane doing an even 120. Set the cruise control. Stupid Cortana won’t respond to voice commands. Used to able to shout ‘Hey, Cortana, remind me’ and she would remind me. Shut off this horrible music. I am not hip with the times. Gotta fix that somehow.

Audible. The one course about writing fiction. That’ll do. Bought it, might as well listen to it. Audible subscription is amazing. Can’t give them up, or my Office 365, or my Groove Music. Whatever happens, we keep those. And the ROM membership. That, too. Stayed off the 407 for half the week, but I want to take it today, only to the 400. It’s early and it’s not Friday, traffic will be light.

Did he just say evocation? Is he talking about spells or something? Fiction is so much easier for an audiobook – non fiction and courses are hard to follow. Maybe I should put on some music. Gotta be careful. No more tickets. Speed ticket last year and one a few years before that. I hope Cam can get me out of the other one next year. I wasn’t even on the phone, just checking the GPS on my phone. Only glanced at it. Cop wasn’t hearing anything of it. Raining that day. Didn’t want to cop to get wet. So much water today, though. All through the warehouse. No lunch either. That’s too bad. Don’t know when I’ll get another chance.

Oh, shit. Switch lanes, gear down, no clutch and feeling cool. Why is that cop’s lights on. He just pulled someone over. I don’t want to be the next one. Why is everyone stopped? How far does this go? Oh, shit. What’s going on now? Switch to radio when he starts talking about character development and Miss Dalloway and Ulysses. Read the one, not the other. But I’ve started it a bunch of times. Ulysses is my favourite but I always feel like bragging. My copy is safe and sound on my bookcase at work. Top shelf. Not getting wet there. Hands still hurt. Should have worn gloves. Gonna get a blister. Doesn’t hurt when I shift. This traffic isn’t getting any lighter. It usually frees up around here.

Allannah Myles. Rockinghorse. Great song. Maybe I will listen to that. Listen to this first. When does the traffic come on? I need a traffic app. Never listen to the radio. Who’s texting me now. Ignore! Ah, man. Gotta wait in silence while the phone asks me again because Cortana doesn’t ever get it the first time. Why don’t they fix it? I should sign into the feedback app and explain my problem. Bet it’s simple. That’s a nice car. Ignore! Thank you. Christ that pisses me off. Telsa. Didn’t look like a Tesla. Did a work instruction for engineering changes. Hope they liked it. They promise an update on the traffic in a few minutes, but before get to that, they want everyone to know to avoid the highway. Paint thinner spill. Highway is closed and I’m ten kilometres from an exit. Aw, fuck. Shut off the radio. Hate it anyway. Well, in traffic like this, maybe a course is what I need. I really should read Miss Dalloway. Is that a blister on my hand.

What? Where you going? Get off the goddamned shoulder. Stay in traffic and suffer with the rest of us. You don’t get any special passes. What about is? Oh, man, poor bastard. Broke down on the side of the road. Driver’s side flat. Oh, shit buddy, wish I could help. Can’t see him, he’s looking over the bench seat of his truck. Someone is stuck behind him, too. Fuck you, buddy. Serves you right. This is what the shoulder was meant for.

The chick in the black Mercedes looks like she means business. Very serious look on her face. Is there anything left from my lunch? Apple and two oranges. Pork chops with rice and Brussel sprouts, too. Depends on how long I’m out here. Oh, God. How long? GPS doesn’t show distance to target. Could I change it to how far it is to the next exit. Can’t be bother. Not going to leave the apple core in the car. Roll down passenger side window. Won’t throw it over the bridge. Wait until there is grass for me to throw it in. Bite into oranges, leave the peel in my lunch bag. Got juice on my hand. Don’t think I can throw it as far as an apple. There! Maybe an apple tree will grow. Always wondered about that. Seeds grow in the belly. But they have cyanide. Didn’t know that then, but trees in the belly was a good image for a kid.

Another douche and his canoe trying to paddle up the shoulder. I don’t think so. Orange wedges arranged on my thigh, popping them in my mouth, savouring the juices. Had doesn’t sting. No open cuts. They’ve been in my lunch bag all week. Been eating granola bars and crackers instead. Seeing them in there makes me feel healthy. They taste good. Should eat more of them. Get off the fucking shoulder. Oh, no you bitch, you stay right there. Hey! Hey! Don’t let him in front of you! I don’t care if he spoke to you through an open window. What kind of a sob story did he tell you? I would’ve liked to hear it. Might have made me a good story.

Hope they like my story. Happy about the one. Need to read the critique on the other. Didn’t see it until today when I sent it to someone else to read. Rob? Abramovitch, that’s right. Great guy. Hit it off with him. Feel bad I can’t do more business with him. Up to Joe. Not my money. Yet. A boy can dream.

Holy fuck. An hour to go a kilometre. Dear God, I am getting off at the next exit, but I’m following to lines. The goddamned lines. There are rules for a reason. What if an emergency vehicle needed to go along the side? Mell said that, didn’t mean it, almost cried when they wouldn’t let the ambulance through. Cried at the ROM, too. Horrible exhibit. Very stark. She’s too good for me. Has a wonderful heart. Follow the fucking road assholes. Oh, no. Oh, no you don’t.

“Get in line, motherfucker.”

Oh, dude. Dude. You’re driving on that wheel? You shouldn’t it’ll fuck up the rim. Oh. That guy. They guy behind you was helping? He’s driving behind you with his hazards on. Good man. Well done. That’s what the shoulder is for. What if that was your husband, lady? Yeah. You don’t even think.

“Oh, no. No, no, you fucking bitch.”

If only my car had a roll cage like a demolition derby. I’d take these fuckers out. Show them a lesson. Oh, shit. I’m going to die on the highway. Still 90. But no. It won’t be a heart attack. It’ll be from stab wounds, after I get out of my car and try to throw a punch at a huge man in a deceptively small car.

“Fuck you!”

Was that loud? Felt like it was loud. Stupid lesson or course or whatever. Wasn’t listening. Maybe check Facebook. Didn’t you get a ticket for that? Court date next month. I was checking my GPS. Nothing on Facebook. What about Reddit? Oh, that’s always good. r/all. If I get convicted it’s like five hundred bucks to say nothing of insurance. I should take a motorcycle lesson next year. Val will hate that, but Damnit, I want to ride on. I can borrow Raj’s. He’s a good guy. Wonder how high my insurance will go if I’m convicted and get motorcycle insurance.

Praise Jesus, the line to the off ramp is moving. One alcohol, please. What was that? Nothing. How are you? I’ll be better in thirty seconds. Thirty seconds? That’s about how long it takes to pour me a nice, tall beer. Longer if you keep talking. No, sounds good in my head. Not happening. Still, would love a drink. Any beer at home? Cherry Coke and scotch? That’ll do, too. Before or after lunches? After. Well, maybe before. Kids can play games. I need this drink. 85. Getting better still want to murder someone.

“Get off the fucking shoulder. Oh, fuck no. You are no getting in my lane.”

Keep it in second and floor the accelerator. Oh, damn. Need to change my socks. Engine is revving high, but I am getting off the highway. Oh, look. He’s got a good jack. The kind my dad would use, only for all four weeks as a kind of hoist for working on cars. Mopped floors all day in the flood. Reminded me of him. Arvin was with me. He knew how to mop floors. First job was mopping floors in a warehouse and driving forklift. Fifteen thousand square feet. Current one is over three hundred, but that’s still a lot of mopping. I was seven or maybe nine. Nine when he showed me how to sweep and mop and how it would be the most important thing to learn because I would never be out of work. Thirty five years later and there I was.

Moving slow but off the highway and closer to home. He’s bearing down on those good and the guy in the car looks like his son. Hope it’s his son. Hope the rim isn’t fucked up and he can get a tire on it. Does he have a spare? Trunk looks pretty equipped. I don’t feel all that religious although I did learn about halal today. And the other one, I just don’t remember what it was. Either way, I hope that’s guys okay.


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